Working Papers by Author

Susan Stephens - Classics Department, Stanford University

011203 Writing Alexandria as the (Common)place
Susan Stephens, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - The interactions between Greece and the East in fictional narrative remains problematic, because however scrupulous our attempts to disambiguate the 'Greece' interacting with the East, or to insist on Greek regional and temporal pluralities, the simple fact of one language versus many undercuts good intentions. Anyone writing in Greek (whatever his native language, cultural traditions, or time of composition) must have had a Greek education. This means exposure to and de facto absorption of the same but quite limited number of texts and the values thus encoded. As a result, a more or less unified set of assumptions are attached to writing a narrative in Greek -- whether we want to imagine this as a full-blown paideia, or simply an inevitable cultural shorthand. If we shift our focus to a non-Greek perspetive, a more useful question might be: what aspects of our non-Greek partners within the contact zone appear in Greek narratives (writ large), and to what extent are these narratives typical of the narrqtive foctions of that partner? In what follows I pursue this line of thought with focus on one 'East' -- Egypt -- by considering first how Egyptians represent themselves in their own fictions before discussing the intricate levels of reception of these Egyptians within the milieux of Greek writing from Herodotus to the novels.

011202 Writing Alexandria as the (Common)place
Susan Stephens, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - In 333 BC Alexandria did not exist. The transition from a place devoid of cultural significance (for Greeks) to the first city of the Mediterranean was not just a matter of a few buildings or some Greek immigrants. The making of place is central to the process of identity formation, which is in turn integral to the construction of social orer. Place-making requires a sense of shared and evolving history—a past, present, and future that is commonly encoded in genealogies; investment in common myths and rituals; and social hierarchies that both inform and are informed by the specific landscape. For this process of place-making, it follows that poets would play an important role both as repositories for, and as artificers of, cultural memory. This paper discusses how Callimachus helps to create the cultural memory of ancient Alexandria in this poetry.

050703 Literary Quarrels
Susan Stephens, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - Scholars have long noted Platonic elements or allusions in Callimachus' poems, particularly in the Aetia prologue and the 13th Iambus that center on poetic composition. Following up on their work, Benjamin Acosta-Hughes and Susan Stephens, in a recent panel at the APA, and in papers that are about to appear in Callimachea II. Atti della seconda giornata di studi su Callimaco (Rome: Herder), have argued not for occasional allusions, but for a much more extensive influence from the Phaedo and Phaedrus in the Aetia prologue (Acosta-Hughes) and the Protagoras, Ion, and Phaedrus in the Iambi (Stephens). These papers are part of a preliminary study to reformulate Callimachus' aesthetic theory. Included herein is Benjamin Acosta-Hughes' "The Cicala's Song: Plato in the Aetia."

050702 Remapping the Mediterranean: The Argo adventure Apollonius and Callimachus
Susan Stephens, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - This paper was written for Culture in Pieces, a Festschrift in honor of Peter Parsons. Callimachus and Apollonius were poets writing in Alexandria, a newly established Greek city on the north east coast of Africa that lacked defining narratives of space, indigenous gods and heroes, or founding families. I argue that both poets turned to the legend of the Argonauts to link Libya and Egypt with Greece as a strategy in crafting a legitimating myth for the Ptolemaic occupation of Egypt. The textual argument focuses on the gift of a clod of Libyan earth to one of the Argonauts in Pindar’s Pythian 4 and at end of the Argonautica, and the Argonaut fragments at the beginning of Callimachus’ Aetia.