BROOKE HOLMES, and W.H. SHEARIN, (eds.),
Dynamic Reading. Studies in the Reception of Epicureanism.
Oxford University Press, Oxford (...), 2012. XIII,383p. ills. Hard bound with dust wrps. 'It is easy to skip or skim introductions to edited collections, but this one should not be passed over. Dynamic Reading, like most of its contributors, comes from the world of Comparative Literature, not Classics, and its value lies at least as much in its unsettling theoretical vision of reception as in what it says about the uses and reuses of Epicureanism. (...) Holmes and Shearin take their departure from Constance and the Rezeptionsästhetik of H. R. Jauss and Wirkungsästhetik of Wolfgang Iser; from there they advance through more recent work in reception studies by Charles Martindale. Like Martindale, they regard the reception of a work or idea as analogous to musical performance; that is, as a dynamic transaction between a score and its performer which recreates the work in a complex, unique event. Receptions of the De Rerum Natura differ just as performances of Bach differ. (...) Into this widely but not universally accepted view of reception as dynamic performance Holmes and Shearin introduce the idea of contingency, which they relate to the Epicurean eventum, “accident” (p.11; cf. DRN 1.449-482). Receptions, that is, are not entirely under the control of the receivers. Time and chance, and the random swerve of matter, play a part in all of them. (...) Holmes, Shearin, and their collaborators have destabilized the idea of reception for me and will do so for other readers as well. That discomfiting idea makes this coherent collection worth reading, and reading carefully.' (LEE T. PEARCY in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.11.24).