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The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World$
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Yun Lee Too

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577804.001.0001

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The Breathing Library: Performing Cultural Memories

The Breathing Library: Performing Cultural Memories

(p.83) 3 The Breathing Library: Performing Cultural Memories
The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World

Yun Lee Too

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 states that the library need not be a physical collection of texts, and it explores the phenomenon of the learned literary individual who becomes a virtual library. The personified library grows out of the person who had to personify literature in an earlier period and he becomes an authorized and authorizing figure, who, as the example of Aristophanes, the first librarian at Alexandria, shows, can attest to the legitimacy of texts. Individuals such as Longinus, Nepotianus, and Apuleius come to embody their society's learning and culture, although in later antiquity, with Athenaeus, the memorization of literary texts places the library‐individuals under great pressure as the attempt to accrue literary authority becomes an exaggerated and ridiculous venture.

Keywords:   personified library, Aristophanes of Byzantium, Longinus, Nepotianus, Apuleius, memorization

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