Characterization and Individuality in Greek Literature

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The Greeks discovered the individual, it is said, but in what sense is this true? Characters in Greek literature may often seem strangely different from their modern counterparts: less idiosyncratic, less real, and with less psychological depth or interest. Personality traits seems to cluster more predictably in the characters of Greek authors than of those today. Despite the wide-ranging scope of this aspect of Greek literature, most previous discussions on Greek characterization and individuality have been limited to particular authors or genres. This volume attempts to illuminate the connections and mutual influences of the various genres in the portrayal of the individual. Ten essays explore the question of the distinction of character and personality (C. Gill); how the Greeks viewed the concept of character (S. Halliwell); characterization in epic (O. Taplin), in tragedy (P. E. Easterling, S. Goldhill, and J. Griffin), in comedy (M. Silk), in philosophical dialectic (L. Coventry), in oratory and rhetoric (D. A. Russell), and in biography (C. B. R. Pelling). This work will be invaluable to anyone interested in Greek literature and in the phenomenon of characterization and individuality in literature in general.