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2 Literary History: A Fourth-Century Roman Invention?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the presentation of the facts, of a different order of historiographical complexity, with an eye to sharpening the fourth-century period-focus of one's inquiry. In 1997, the Munich firm of C.H. Beck published Volume 4 of the new Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike (HLL), an eight volume reference-work launched under the editorial direction of the Konstanz classicists Peter Lebrecht Schmidt and Reinhart Herzog. Volume 4, for the years 117 to 284, was emblazoned Die Literatur des Umbruchs: Von der romischen zur christlichen Literatur, literally, "Literature of Radical Change: From Roman to Christian Literature". The HLL was bound to observe the lower-order unities on which the higher-order unities of modern literary histories have traditionally been raised. To judge from the inaugural HLL 5, the new handbook as Gesamtwerk would be distinguished by the richness of its bibliographical data.

Keywords: Christian literature; fourth-century period; Gesamtwerk; HLL; Roman world



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