Lucan: Spectacle and Engagement by Matthew LeighLucan: Spectacle and Engagement by Matthew Leigh

Lucan: Spectacle and Engagement

byMatthew Leigh

Hardcover | March 1, 1997

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The Pharsalia, Lucan's epic on the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, is a document of fundamental importance for students of the history and literature of Rome in the early imperial period. Whether one is a historian of the Republican opposition to Nero, or a literary critic teasing out theideological implications of intertextuality, it is impossible to ignore this poem. Taking as his guiding theme the unusual prominence of spectacle and spectators in the Pharsalia - the tendency of either the narrator to represent complicity with or apathy towards the action of various charactyers as that of one who watches and does not engage, or of individual characters tocelebrate the actions which they undertake by turning them into theatrical displays for others to watch - Dr Leigh demonstrates the importance of this phenomenon for narrative, and intertextual concerns as well as for history and socio-political matters. He shows how Lucan can take devicescharacteristic of Virgilian narrative and transform them to launch an attack on the Augustan ideology of the Aeneid and produce a savagely Republican anti-Aeneid which represents the civil wars as the death of Rome. By studying the tension between the narrator's impassioned interventions and his characters' often manic zeal to transform civil war into performance, this work discovers a Lucan who is as funny as he is serious, as reflective as he is committed.
Matthew Leigh is at University of Exeter.
Title:Lucan: Spectacle and EngagementFormat:HardcoverDimensions:376 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.02 inPublished:March 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198150679

ISBN - 13:9780198150671

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Editorial Reviews

`L.'s book offers a number of original interpretations ... In addition, L.'s placement of virtus within the tradition of exemplary literature, his insightful treatments of Pompey and Cato, and his emphasis on the cultural contexts of Lucan's spectacles are other topics that readers will findrewarding.'Randall T. Ganiban, The Classical Review