Header image  
line decor
line decor


Editorial Bodies
Perfection and Rejection in Ancient Rhetoric and Poetics

Michele Kennerly

Reveals the emergence and endurance of vocabularies, habits, and preferences that sustained ancient textual cultures

Though typically considered oral cultures, ancient Greece and Rome also boasted textual cultures, enabled by efforts to perfect, publish, and preserve both new and old writing. In Editorial Bodies, Michele Kennerly argues that such efforts were commonly articulated through the extended metaphor of the body. They were also supported by people upon whom writers relied for various kinds of assistance and necessitated by lively debates about what sort of words should be put out and remain in public.

Spanning ancient Athenian, Alexandrian, and Roman textual cultures, Kennerly shows that orators and poets attributed public value to their seemingly inward-turning compositional labors. After establishing certain key terms of writing and editing from classical Athens through late republican Rome, Kennerly focuses on works from specific orators and poets writing in Latin in the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.: Cicero, Horace, Ovid, Quintilian, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger.

The result is a rich and original history of rhetoric that reveals the emergence and endurance of vocabularies, habits, and preferences that sustained ancient textual cultures. This major contribution to rhetorical studies unsettles longstanding assumptions about ancient rhetoric and poetics by means of generative readings of both well-known and understudied texts.

Michele Kennerly is an assistant professor of communication arts and sciences and of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies at Pennsylvania State University. With Damien Smith Pfister, she is coeditor of Ancient Rhetorics and Digital Networks.

“Michele Kennerly’s Editorial Bodies is a daring and delightful study. The labor of the file—editorial work on written versions of Roman orations—is the focus of this highly original monograph. Prepare to be dazzled by Kennerly's erudite engagement with the ancient source languages and her own carefully wrought style.” — Susan C. Jarratt, University of California, Irvine

“‘Editing’ has no essence, but it does have a history of specific cultural understandings and practices. Working with texts spanning the classical Greek and Roman era, Kennerly provides an account of editing that is impressive in its scope and in the depth of the analysis of specific authors. She makes a convincing case that understanding what can be called the theory, practice, and politics of editing is a crucial part of comprehending the ‘textual cultures’ in which rhetoric and poetics flourish.” — Edward Schiappa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology




6 x 9
248 pages
ISBN 978-1-61117-909-5
Hardcover, $34.99s

ISBN 978-1-61117-910-1
Paperback, $21.99s

ISBN 978-1-61117-911-8
Ebook, $21.99
Studies in Rhetoric/

Thomas W. Benson, series editor

2019 Everett Lee Hunt Award

    Copyright ©2018 The University of South Carolina Press