The New Posidippus. A Hellenistic Poetry Book.
Oxford University Press, 2008. XVI,394p. Paperback. Name and date on half title. ‘That the publication of this particular papyrus should arouse so much interest is understandable. It represents the earliest example of a Greek poetry book surviving as such, and contains epigrams of one of the greater epigram mists of the golden age of Hellenistic poetry, Posidippus of Pella, a Macedonian who worked at the court of the Ptolemies. The papyrus, in the form in which we have it (…) contains a collection of about 112 epigrams, totalling 606 verses, apparently all by the same author. The central question, therefore, that this collection raises is ‘whether the Milan papyrus preserves part of an authorial sanctioned epigram-book or constitutes a different type of compilation, made to suit the idiosyncratic interests of an editor, or as representative of some intermediate stage before the possibilities of aesthetic arrangement were fully understood and utilised’, as editor Kathryn Gutzwiller phrases it in the excellent introduction to the present volume, which recount the editing history of the papyrus and summarises the individual argument of the contributors in a clear way. As we shall see, all three of the possibilities she offers will be argued for in the volume, leaving the reader to ultimately decide the question for him/herself. (…) The book ranges over a wide variety of subjects, from the papyrological study of the material object, the book, through Hellenistic and Roman literature, visual culture and Hellenistic history. (…) All in all, despite the fact that the quality of the various contributions, though in general very high, is not always constant, ‘The New Posidippus, a Hellenistic Poetry Book’, is a thought-provoking volume full of new insights. It should be recommended to anyone interested in Hellenistic poetry and culture, or ancient poetry-books in general.’ (JACQUELINE J.H. KLOOSTER in Mnemosyne, 2007, pp.297-301).