Literature and Society in the Fourth Century AD
Edited by Lieve Van Hoof, Ghent University and Peter Van Nuffelen, Ghent University
Late Antiquity is often assumed to have witnessed the demise of literature as a social force and its retreat into the school and the private reading room: whereas the sophists of the Second Sophistic were influential social players, their late antique counterparts are thought to have been overshadowed by bishops. Literature and Society in the Fourth Century AD argues that this presumed difference should be attributed less to a fundamental change in the role of literature than to different scholarly methodologies with which Greek and Latin texts from the second and the fourth century are being studied. Focusing on performance, the literary construction of reality and self-presentation, this volume highlights how literature continued to play an important role in fourth-century elite society.