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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses miscellanies, a type of Second Sophistic writing whose distinguishing features are variety of subject matter and loose organization. The chapter starts out by acknowledging the difficulty of grasping “the miscellany” as a genre: as it argues, socio-cultural approaches to genre are more appropriate than formalistic ones, if we seek to address the question of these works’ readership and appeal. Accordingly, the chapter links miscellanies with imperial Greco-Roman reading culture, by investigating the aesthetic and cognitive advantages of variety (variatio/poikilia). Further, it demonstrates that miscellanies actively engage with key ideals and concerns of Second Sophistic culture, such as paideia and identity, by constructing differing models of polymathy, and by exploring different facets of identity (class, cultural, or gender).

Keywords: miscellanies, variety, variatio, poikilia, organization, genre, imperial reading culture, paideia, polymathy, identity

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