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Callimachus and Contemporary Criticism

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Chapter Summary

Callimachus imagines his poetry as the target of contemporary critics on more than one occasion: e.g., Aet. fr. 1 Pf. (= 1 M), Iamb. 13, Hy. Apollo 105–13. Though such examples dramatize Callimachus’ relationship to contemporary criticism as largely adversarial, his foregrounding of aesthetic conflict conceals considerable overlap and interplay of ideas with contemporary strands of literary criticism. Situating Callimachus against the fragmented (and often post-Callimachean) record of Hellenistic literary criticism surviving in sources such as “Demetrius” On Style, euphonist criticism preserved in Philodemus and reflected in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and theories of poetic composition by the likes of Neoptolemus of Parium reveals in Callimachean poetry a complex interweaving of contemporary debates about the nature of poetry.

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