Byzantine poetry of the eleventh century is fascinating, yet underexplored terrain. It presents a lively view on contemporary society, is often permeated with wit and elegance, and is concerned with a wide variety of subjects. Only now are we beginning to perceive the possibilities that this poetry offers for our knowledge of Byzantine culture in general, for the intellectual history of Byzantium, and for the evolution of poetry itself. It is, moreover, sometimes in the most neglected texts that the most fascinating discoveries can be made. This book, the first collaborative book-length study on the topic, takes an important step to fill this gap. It brings together specialists of the period who delve into this poetry with different but complementary objectives in mind, covering the links between art and text, linguistic evolutions, social functionality, contemporary reading attitudes, and the like. The authors aim to give the production of 11th-century verse a place in the Byzantine genre system and in the historic evolution of Byzantine poetry and metrics. As a result, this book will, to use the expression of two important poets of the period, "offer a small taste" of what can be gained from the serious study of this period.
Kristoffel Demoen is Professor of Ancient and Medieval Greek Literature, Ghent University, and Floris Bernard is a post-doctoral research fellow at Ghent University, Belgium
’Non si puo che apprezzare quest’opera organica e bene organizzata, ricca di contributi stimolanti non meno che di dottrina. Ogni specialista la usera con grande profitto; e a chi volesse accostarsi per la prima volta alla produzione poetica bizantina dell’undicesimo secolo, affiancando alle antologie di testi (Baldwin, Cantarella-Conca, ora anche Tissoni) uno studio di riferimento, non saprei consigliare niente di meglio.’ [’One can only appreciate this organic, well-organized work, full of stimulating contributions no less than of doctrine. Each specialist will use it to great advantage; to anyone wanting to approach eleventh-century Byzantine poetry for the first time, putting the anthologies of texts (Baldwin, Cantarella-Conca, now also Tissoni) alongside a reference study, I could not recommend anything better.’] Medioevo greco 'I read this excellent book with great pleasure and recommend it highly to anybody interested in eleventh-century Byzantine poetry. The volume is very nicely edited.' The Medieval Review 'This collection of papers edited by Floris Bernard and Kristoffel Demoen represents a major contribution to our understanding of eleventh-century Byzantine culture.' Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies