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Plutarch's Lives: Exploring Virtue and Vice

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199252749
ISBN-10: 0199252742
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Editorial Reviews

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"The structure of the argument is intelligent and its conclusions convincing... It is a book that will be used, as well as read, by scholars and if it succeeds in resuscitating the idea of actually reading Plutarch's corpus it will have been proved itself a major achievement."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"The appearance of Tim Duff's book is an event in Plutarchan studies.... To be frank: students of the Lives will need to own this book, which is now the starting point for subsequent debate about Plutarchan moralism in his biographical writings."--Ploutarchos


"This intelligent, learned, and lucid book will undoubtedly (and deservedly) have an immediate and profound impact upon studies of the Lives. In its sensitive and nuanced attention to the texture and detail of Plutarch's writing, as well as its methodological reorientation, it raises the stakes substantially. No serious Plutarchan scholar (as they say) will want to be without this one."--The Classical Review


"This excellent book by an able scholar will set a new standard in Plutarch studies.... It is an outstanding contribution to the field."--American Journal of Philology


"[a] valuable analysis of Plutarch's Parallel Lives...While the scholarly tone of the volume will win it primarily a graduate student and professional audience, there is much of value for undergraduates as well in a work that offers a fresh view of these perennially-fascinating works."--The Classical Outlook


About the Author

Tim Duff is a Lecturer in Classics at the University of Reading
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199252742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199252749
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,825,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been reading Plutarch's Lives in the Modern Library edition for some time now. After I finished the first volume, I went looking for some secondary sources to provide some guidance. The Lives are extraordinary- they are exciting, thoughtful, contradictory, moralisitic yet that moralism seems to be endlessly nuanced. They are wonderful and timeless and very sunk in their historical moment.
Fortunately, Tim Duff is around to straighten it out for us. This book is a revision of his Ph.D. dissertation. It has some of the excesses of such documents. Duff references practically everyone who has written on Plutarch in the last 40 years in Italian, Greek, German, French and English. Some times Duff is a little too insistent for my taste on not Latinizing Greek names. Worse, on occassion, he uses Greek in the text without translating it. But that is rare. Usually he quotes the Greek and then provides his own translation.
He is incredibly learned in Greek and Roman literature and it shows in his understanding of many of Plutarch's rhetorical devices.
Most of all, he has, as much as anyone, devoted his scholarly life to closely analyzing the Lives. He has published several studies on individual books in Plutarch and is writing several more.
Duff insists on not seperating the Parallel Lives. He sees the pairs as integral units. He notes that Plutarch provided the majority of pairs with introductions, with transitional passages and with a synkriseis (a conclusion that is also a reckoning of sorts- hopefully I am using the singular form of the word). He very dutifully notes the exceptions to this structure, notes which of these exceptions can be explained as lost text and which must be accepted as true exceptions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
GREAT book for anyone interested in Plutarch
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