The Jeweled Style: Poetry and Poetics in Late Antiquity (Paperback)Michael Roberts (author)
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In The Jeweled Style, Michael Roberts offers a new approach to the Latin poetry of late antiquity, one centering on an aesthetic quality common to both the literature and the art of the period-the polychrome patterning of words and phrases or of colors and shapes. In Roberts's view, the writer or artist of this period works as a jeweler, carefully setting compositional units in a geometric framework, consistently demonstrating a preference for effects of patterning over realistic representation, and for a unity situated at a higher level than the literal, historical sequence of the narrative.
Roberts's introductory chapter is followed by an anthology of representative narrative and descriptive poetry from the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. Next, Roberts traces the use of "jewels" as a literary metaphor from the first century A.D. to late antiquity. He then compares the works of late antique literature to wall and floor mosaics, ivory diptychs, Christian sarcophagi, and contemporary styles of dress. Emphasizing that the poetry of this period is not uniform, he differentiates the main genres of Christian narrative poetry-biblical and hagiographical epic-from secular examples of the jeweled style, such as the poetry of Ausonius and Sidonius. Roberts concludes by examining the influence of late antique aesthetics on the medieval poetics of Matthew of Vendome and Geoffrey of Vinsauf.
Elegantly written and augmented by twenty-three illustration, The Jeweled Style will be welcomed by many readers, including Latinists and other classicists, medievalists and Renaissance scholars specializing in literature, Byzantinists, and art historians.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 11 mm
"Robert skillfully delineates the qualities of the 'jeweled style' and shows that, although rhetorical ostentation was sometimes viewed with suspicion by Christian authors, it became an enduring part of late antique and medieval aesthetics. Roberts's discussions of poetry and the classical tradition are clear and informative, but it is primarily the extensive chapter on literature and the visual arts that makes this study so worthwhile. This book should not be overlooked by anyone interested in a readable treatment of early Christian and medieval Latin poetry."* Religious Studies Review *
"Roberts has produced a gem of a book about Latin poetry of the Roman dominate.... By analyzing the style of a number of the major poets of the period, Roberts makes it clear that late Roman poetry is just as sophisticated, in its own right, as the works of the early principate. He argues that the literature has to be considered against the background of the period in which it was produced, convincingly showing that it shares much in common with the art of the period."* The Classical World *