Lucian of Samosata (c. 120-180 CE) was a prolific writer of parody and satire, who had absorbed nearly all Greek literature composed up to his time, especially the works which remain today our canon of "the classics." He mimics, criticizes, summarizes, and recombines this literature by way of producing his own array of (about eighty) brilliant dialogues and other sketches that entertain us still today in an apparently unmediated way.
Lucian: A Guide for the Perplexed is a clear and thorough account of Lucian's works and ideas, providing an ideal guide to the humorous and sophisticated writings of this key ancient satirist, including his best known works, A True Story, Dialogues of the Gods and Dialogues of the Dead. This book will approach Lucian by highlighting and explicating his 'perplexities', which might be as modern and sophisticated as any of the modes of engagement put forward in ancient Greek prose literature. A foreign speaker of Greek from Syria, his Hellenism was entirely acquired, and the Hellenism he generated has worked not only as a bridge for modernity back to the classical past, but also as a window into his own world of the high Roman Empire, seen in the clear perspective of the integrated outsider. This is the ideal companion to the study of this most paradoxical rhetorician and writer.
Susan Prince is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, USA.