The aim of my project is a diachronic examination of dedicatory prose prefaces to Greek and Latin texts from the Classical period to the Principate. Dedications allowed an author to directly address a specific, named dedicatee and to implicate him as a participant in a communicative act; as such, they represented a form of the social practices of gift exchange, networking, and patronage. The presentation of the relationship between an author and a dedicatee played an important function in the former’s self-creation and allowed him to comment on the process of writing, to signal his motivation and inspirations, and to shape readers’ expectations. The figure of the dedicatee, on the other hand, served as a model reader and encouraged a specific type of intellectual processing of the text. In this project, I will collect evidence on the development of dedicatory prefaces in the form of extant texts, fragments, and testimonies. I will create a typology and comparative overview of dedicatory conventions and interpret their literary and rhetorical functions.
I am a Classicist working on ancient prose literature. I am particularly interested in literary formats of ancient texts and have published on various aspects of Greek dialogue. My monograph Greek Dialogue in Antiquity: Post-Platonic Transformations (contracted with Oxford University Press) will offer a comprehensive examination of the genre in the Hellenistic period. I am also interested in laughter in antiquity and in animal exemplarity in moralizing prose. I have published several book-length translations from ancient Greek into Polish.
An Author to his Reader. Dedicatory Prose Prefaces in Ancient Literature
Area of research:
Ancient Greek and Roman Literature
1 August 2020 - 31 July 2023