The Roman Book: Books, Publishing and Performance in Classical Rome (Classical Literature and Society)

November 28, 2020
The Roman Book: Books, Publishing and Performance in Classical Rome (Classical Literature and Society)

The publishing of Roman books has long and often beenmisrepresented by false analogies with modern publishing. Thiscomprehensive new study examines, by appeal to what Roman authorsthemselves tell us, both the raw materials and aesthetic criteriaof the Roman book (a papyrus scroll) and the process of literarycomposition. What was the 'scribal art' of the time? What was therole of bookshops and libraries? What control did an author haveover his creation? How were new books received and used by readers?To answer these questions Roman publishing is placed firmly in thecontext of a society that, despite the omnipresence of writing, wasstill predominantly oral. This context helps to explain how somebooks and authors became politically dangerous, and how the Romanbook could be both a cultural icon and integral part of theself-definition of Rome's governing elite and a direct contributorto popular culture through the mass medium of the Romantheatre.