Exemplary Traits: Reading Characterization in Roman Poetry

Hardcover | June 25, 2013

byJ. Mira Seo

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How did Roman poets create character? Mythological figures entail their own predetermined plotlines and received characteristics: a soft, maternal Medea is as absurd as a spineless Achilles. For the Roman poets, the problem is even more acute since they follow on late in a highly developedliterary tradition. The fictional characters that populate Roman literature, such as Aeneas and Oedipus, link text and reader in a form of communication that is different from a first person narrator to an addressee. Exemplary Traits examines how Roman poets used models dynamically to create character, and how their referential approach to character reveals them mobilizing the literary tradition. By tracing the philosophical and rhetorical concepts that underlie characterization as a literary technique, thisstudy illuminates an underestimated aspect of this poetic technique and its relation to a larger intellectual context. Covering a range of authors from Vergil to Statius, J. Mira Seo places the poetics of character in a Roman intellectual environment.

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How did Roman poets create character? Mythological figures entail their own predetermined plotlines and received characteristics: a soft, maternal Medea is as absurd as a spineless Achilles. For the Roman poets, the problem is even more acute since they follow on late in a highly developedliterary tradition. The fictional characters th...

J. Mira Seo is Associate Professor in the Humanities at Yale-NUS College.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 25, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199734283

ISBN - 13:9780199734283

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations and TextsIntroduction1. We'll Always Have Paris: Aeneas and the Roman Legacy2. Lucan's Cato and the Poetics of Exemplarity3. Seneca's Oedipus: Characterization and Decorum4. Parthenopaeus and Mors immatura in Statius' Thebaid5. Amphiaraus, Predestined Prophet, Didactic VatesConclusionsAppendix: Seneca's Hippolytus and Fatal AttractionBibliographyPassages CitedIndex