Self-promotion and self-effacement in Plutarch's Table Talk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines the tension between self-assertion and self-effacement in Plutarch's self-representation in the Table Talk. It opens with a survey of uses of the first person in other ancient compilatory and scientific writing in order to show that Plutarch is not unusual in steering a delicate line between authorial self-promotion and a more reticent approach to use of the first person. It also argues, however, that those tensions take on an unusual prominence in the Table Talk, in part because of the work's sympotic character. Often Plutarch himself takes a dominant role in conversation, in line with the traditional obligations of symposium conversation. At other times, however, he retreats from view in order to give space to other voices, especially the voices of the authors of the past which are brought into conversation through the act of sympotic quotation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosopher's Banquet
Subtitle of host publicationPlutarch's Table Talk in the Intellectual Culture of the Roman Empire
EditorsK. Oikonomopoulou, F. Klotz
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199588954
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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