Scholars of ancient literature have often focused on the works and lives of major authors rather than on such questions as how these works were produced and who read them. In Roman Literary Culture, Elaine Fantham fills that void by examining the changing social and historical context of literary production in ancient Rome and its empire. Fantham discusses the habits of Roman readers and developments in their means of access to literature, from booksellers and copyists to pirated publications and libraries. She examines the issues of patronage and the utility of literature. She shows how the constraints of the physical object itself―the ancient "book"―influenced the practice of both reading and writing. And she explores the ways in which ancient criticism and critical attitudes reflected cultural assumptions of the time.
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