Winner, PROSE Award, Classics, Association of American Publishers (AAP), 2018
Writing down the epic tales of the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus in texts that became the Iliad and the Odyssey was a defining moment in the intellectual history of the West, a moment from which many current conventions and attitudes toward books can be traced. But how did texts originally written on papyrus in perhaps the eighth century BC survive across nearly three millennia, so that today people can read them electronically on a smartphone?
Classics from Papyrus to the Internet provides a fresh, authoritative overview of the transmission and reception of classical texts from antiquity to the present. The authors begin with a discussion of ancient literacy, book production, papyrology, epigraphy, and scholarship, and then examine how classical texts were transmitted from the medieval period through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment to the modern era. They also address the question of reception, looking at how succeeding generations responded to classical texts, preserving some but not others. This sheds light on the origins of numerous scholarly disciplines that continue to shape our understanding of the past, as well as the determined effort required to keep the literary tradition alive. As a resource for students and scholars in fields such as classics, medieval studies, comparative literature, paleography, papyrology, and Egyptology, Classics from Papyrus to the Internet presents and discusses the major reference works and online professional tools for studying literary transmission.