"Lyric Texts and Lyric Consciousness" presents a model for studying the history of lyric as a genre. Paul Allen Miller draws a distinction between the work of the Greek lyricists and the more condensed, personal poetry that we associate with lyric. He then confronts the theoretical issues and presents a sophisticated, Bakhtinian reading of the development of the lyric form from its origins in archaic Greece to the more individualist style of Augustan Rome.
The book examines different forms of poetic subjectivity projected by ancient authors--Archilochus, Sappho, Catullus and Horace--through a close reading of both their texts and contexts. Miller argues that what is considered lyric--a short personal poem which reveals a reflexive subjective consciousness--is only possible in a culture of writing. It is the lyric collection which creates literary consciousness as we know it. This consciousness also requires a social structure where individuals can speak in their own names, not merely in that of their state or class.
"Miller's easygoing and fluid eloquence render his book accessible to any...who will give it the thoughtful attentive reading it deserves."
-"The Classical Outlook Paul Miller's study offers literary critics and intellectual historians a thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between books and their contents. . . Miller's emp