296 DE NOVIS LIBRIS IUDICIA M. H. McCALL, Ancient Rhetorical Theories of Simile and Comparison (Loeb Classical Monographs). Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard University Press, 1969. xvi, 272 p. Pr. D. 8.50. In this monograph McCall studies the ancient theories of simile and comparison from approximately 400 B.C. until the end of the first century A.D. His main results are: (a) the essential interest of ancient critics lies in purpose (proof and embellishment) and method (description, vividness, brevity, etc.); (b) when discussing compari- son, most Greek critics couple it with metaphor, Latin critics with historical example; (c) when coupling comparison with metaphor, Greek critics stress the primacy of metaphor, Roman that of comparison; (d) there are no words specifically used for compari- sons in prose or in poetry; (e) ancient critics do not regard 'simile' as a unique form of comparison. On the whole this book is sound and gives a useful sketch of the development of the various theories. I have, however, two grave objections; the first concerns McCall's method, the other his inter- pretation of the theories about the relation between metaphor and comparison, which point is related to method also. McCall takes his starting-point in the distinction
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1973
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