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Reading Books, Talking Culture:

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Chapter Summary

This paper highlights some tendencies in Imperial Greek literature which are intertwined with the transfer from book reading to the reproduction of knowledge. It shows how some of the techniques which the Second Sophistic orators use are partly inspired by the inevitable dynamics of book reading and talking about books. The chapter then explains how their use of quotations and references probably tells us less about (the limitations of) their paideia than about their wider social and performative context. It finally describes how scholars can appreciate their creative and versatile interactions with traditional sources and yet fully assess the consequences of the performative context for which these discourses were designed or by which they were influenced.

Keywords:Imperial Greek literature; paideia



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