Wonder and the Marvellous from Homer to the Hellenistic World

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Wonder and wonders constituted a central theme in ancient Greek culture. In this book, Jessica Lightfoot provides the first full-length examination of its significance from Homer to the Hellenistic period. She demonstrates that wonder was an important term of aesthetic response and occupied a central position in concepts of what philosophy and literature are and do. She also argues that it became a means of expressing the manner in which the realms of the human and the divine interrelate with one another; and that it was central to the articulation of the ways in which the relationships between self and other, near and far, and familiar and unfamiliar were conceived. The book provides a much-needed starting point for re-assessments of the impact of wonder as a literary critical and cultural concept both in antiquity and in later periods. This title is available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages300
ISBN (Electronic)9781009003551
ISBN (Print)9781009009140
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameCambridge Classical Studies
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Wonder
  • Thauma
  • Paradoxography
  • Plato
  • Homer
  • Tragedy
  • Hellenistic
  • Classical
  • Archaic


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