Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome

William A. Johnson and Holt N. Parker (editors)
Oxford University Press
(2011)

In the volume, selected leading scholars rethink from the ground up how students of classical antiquity might best approach the question of literacy in the past, and how that investigation might materially intersect with changes in the way that literacy was being viewed in other disciplines. The result gave readers new ways of thinking about specific elements of "literacy" in antiquity, such as the nature of personal libraries, or what it means to be a bookseller in antiquity; new constructionist questions, such as what constitutes reading communities and how they fashion themselves; new takes on the public sphere, such as how literacy intersects with commercialism, or with the use of public spaces, or with the construction of civic identity; new essentialist questions, such as what do "book" and "reading" signify in antiquity, why literate cultures develop, or why literate cultures matter.