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Complex InferioritiesThe Poetics of the Weaker Voice in Latin Literature$
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Sebastian Matzner and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198814061

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198814061.001.0001

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On Not Being Beautiful

On Not Being Beautiful

Chapter:
(p.185) 10 On Not Being Beautiful
Source:
Complex Inferiorities
Author(s):

G. O. Hutchinson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198814061.003.0011

x is more beautiful than y’ sounds a standard thing to say in Greek and Latin literature; but it raises intricate and interesting issues, not least from the standpoint of y. This chapter draws on symbolic logic to compare the relation between assessing superiority or inferiority in beauty and making choices in love in both Greek and Latin literature. The various dynamics, logics, and rhetorics of desire in the light of inferiority and superiority are subjected to close scrutiny, paving the way for a discussion that addresses not only the complex scenarios that unfold here (paying special attention to the various ways in which the amorous hierarchy is set in relation to other hierarchies) but also the intriguing fact that such questions of relative inferiority and superiority in erotic matters seem to pervade Greek literature more extensively and differently than Latin.

Keywords:   beauty, ugliness, comparison, aesthetic judgement, age, desire, desirability, love poetry, Greek literature, Latin literature

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