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Classical CommentariesExplorations in a Scholarly Genre$
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Christina S. Kraus and Christopher Stray

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688982.001.0001

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Jean-François Vauvilliers and Pindaric Commentary

Jean-François Vauvilliers and Pindaric Commentary

(p.457) 23 Jean-François Vauvilliers and Pindaric Commentary
Classical Commentaries

Penelope Wilson

Oxford University Press

The academic career of the French Hellenist Jean-François Vauvilliers was cut short by the French Revolution, but the idiosyncratic commentary attached to his 1772 translation of a selection of Pindar’s odes shows him as a significant transitional figure in Pindaric criticism. Although developed in the context of French academic debates of the 1760s, his concentration on the unity of each ode anticipates later directions associated with Ludolph Dissen and the German school of Altertumswissenschaft. In setting out the role of the commentator in his introductory discourse Vauvilliers manifests his commitment to the interdependence of textual detail and historical context, and the reader’s responsibility in the production of a coherent reading. His treatment of Pythian 1 illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of his approach in practice, raising questions about controversy and the personal voice in commentary, and the suitability of this format for promotion of a holistic reading of a poem.

Keywords:   Pindaric criticism, audience, anticipating later directions, translation with commentary, controversy, coherence, reader-response, Altertumswissenschaft, Jean-François Vauvilliers

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