Alfred Körte (essay date 1929)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Elegy," "The Epic," and "The Epigram," in Hellenistic Poetry, translated by Jacob Hammer and Moses Hadas, Columbia University Press, 1929, pp. 94-150, 150-257, 350-406.

[The following excerpt, drawn from his Hellenistic Poetry, presents Körte's summation of Callimachus as a writer of elegy, epic, and epigram. Examining Callimachus' work largely in the context of his biography and the social and political environment in Alexandria, Korte finds certain qualities constant in Callimachus across the genres. Korte emphasizes especially the poet's aptitude for originality and novelty, remarking that "precisely what was obscure, untouched and neglected had the greatest...

(The entire section is 15544 words.)

Bruno Snell (essay date 1948)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Art and Play in Callimachus," in The Discovery of the Mind: The Greek Origins of European Thought, translated by T. G. Rosenmeyer, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1953, pp. 264-80.

[In the following excerpt from his book The Discovery of the Mind: The Greek Origins of European Thought, originally published in German in 1948, Snell declares Callimachus the 'father of Hellenistic poetry" and compares him at length to Germany's Goethe. According to Snell, Callimachus's defining characteristic was his "post-philosophical" enhancement of technique and playfulness above moral instruction, the province of earlier eras in Greek literature.]


(The entire section is 6627 words.)

K. J. McKay (essay date 1962)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Glance at the Hymns," in The Poet at Play: Kallimachos, "The Bath of Pallas," E. J. Brill, 1962, pp. 10-25.

[In his book-length study of Callimachus 's Bath of Pallas, classicist K. J. McKay begins with an overview, excerpted below, of the poet's six hymns. In an effort to determine date of composition and what some of Callimachus's sources might have been, McKay considers the poems, especially their imagery, in relation to earlier works and in the context of the history of the Alexandrian court.]

We owe the preservation of the Hymns to the tidy mind of an early scribe who brought together the Hymns of Homer, Kallimachos, Orpheus (and the Orphic...

(The entire section is 5659 words.)

T. B. L. Webster (essay date 1964)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Kallimachos," in Hellenistic Poetry and Art, Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1964, pp. 98-121.

[In the following excerpt from his Hellenistic Poetry and Art, Webster considers Callimachus's reputation during his career and his aesthetic criteria, simultaneously providing an extensive examination of the poet's works, including the hymns, the iambi, Hecale, and the epigrams. Webster's discussion entails a summary of the "hostilities" concerning aesthetics that Callimachus found himself engaged in with other poets. In his final assessment, Webster attributes Callimachus with "elegance, humour, learning, and variety."]

Kallimachos certainly lived through...

(The entire section is 8968 words.)

Rudolf Pfeiffer (essay date 1968)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Callimachus and the Generation of his Pupils," in History of Classical Scholarship: From the Beginning to the End of the Hellenistic Age, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1968, pp. 123-51.

[One of the most-cited Callimachus scholars, Pfeiffer presents an in-depth study of ancient Greek scholarship in his History of Classical Scholarship: From the Beginning to the End of the Hellenistic Age. The chapter excerpted below looks at Callimachus as a primary contributor to the scholarship, especially in his role as cataloguer for the Alexandrian royal library. Pfeiffer also offers a detailed view of the Pinakes, or bibliographies, Callimachus prepared for the library, and...

(The entire section is 6095 words.)

G. Zanker (essay date 1987)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Practice of Pictorial Realism" and "The Everyday and the Low in Alexandrian Poetry," in Realism in Alexandrian Poetry: A Literature and Its Audience, Croom Helm, 1987, pp. 55-112, 155-227.

[In the following excerpt, Zanker studies the use of pictorial realism among Alexandrian poets, looking at Callimachus alongside Appollonius, Theocritus, and Herodas. Zanker's discussion of Callimachus considers many of his works, including the Aetia and the Hymns, but his thesis rests primarly on an extended study of the Hecale, which he finds particularly demonstrates the meaning of pictorial realism. He argues that Callimachus uses the style for a specific...

(The entire section is 11946 words.)

Rudolf Blum (essay date 1991)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Kallimachos and His Lists of Greek Authors and Their Works," in Kallimachos: The Alexandrian Library and the Origins of Bibliography, translated by Hans H. Wellisch, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1991, pp. 124-81.

[In the excerpt that follows, Blum focuses his attention on Callimachus the scholar rather than Callimachus the poet. Blum carefully reconstructs the history of the royal library at Alexandria, attempting to determine the post Callimachus held there and the years of his tenure.]

Accounts of the life and work of Kallimachos are neither particularly extensive nor are they particularly sparse. Our main source is the article "Kallimachos" in the...

(The entire section is 8113 words.)