This major overview of how classical texts were preserved across millennia addresses both the process of transmission and the issue of reception, as well as the key reference works and online professional tools for studying literary transmission.
Writing down the epic tales of the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus in texts that became the Iliad and the Odyssey was a defining moment in the intellectual history of the West, a moment from which many current conventions and attitudes toward books can be traced. But how did texts originally written on papyrus in perhaps the eighth century BC survive across nearly three millennia, so that today people can read them electronically on a smartphone?
Classics from Papyrus to the Internet provides a fresh, authoritative overview of the transmission and reception of classical texts from antiquity to the present. The authors begin with a discussion of ancient literacy, book production, papyrology, epigraphy, and scholarship, and then examine how classical texts were transmitted from the medieval period through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment to the modern era. They also address the question of reception, looking at how succeeding generations responded to classical texts, preserving some but not others. This sheds light on the origins of numerous scholarly disciplines that continue to shape our understanding of the past, as well as the determined effort required to keep the literary tradition alive. As a resource for students and scholars in fields such as classics, medieval studies, comparative literature, paleography, papyrology, and Egyptology, Classics from Papyrus to the Internet presents and discusses the major reference works and online professional tools for studying literary transmission.
2018 PROSE Award in the Classics category
- Foreword by Craig Kallendorf
- Chapter 1. Writing and Literature in Antiquity
- Chapter 2. Grammar, Scholarship, and Scribal Practice from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
- Chapter 3. Classical Reception from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
- Chapter 4. Classics and Humanists
- Chapter 5. Classical Texts in the Age of Printing
- Chapter 6. Tools for the Modern Scholar
“Hunt, Smith, and Stok have produced a valuable and useful book…Especially as Classics continues to be a source of interest and even contention in the public eye, the history of the field should remain of vital interest to students…The present volume offers a rich and engaging starting point.”
New England Classical Journal
“I am not exaggerating when I suggest that every classicist should read this book if they want to understand how their field works; nor am I exaggerating when I say that it is accessible to both serious undergraduates with a background in the classics and to teacher-scholars who want a succinct explanation of how classical texts have been transmitted.”
Craig Kallendorf, Texas A&M University, editor of A Companion to the Classical Tradition