Reproducing Rome: Motherhood in Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, and Statius

Hardcover | November 15, 2015

byMairead McAuley

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In the conservative and competitive society of ancient Rome, where the law of the father (patria potestas) was supposedly absolute, motherhood took on complex aesthetic, moral, and political meanings in elite literary discourse. Reproducing Rome is a study of the representation of maternity inthe Roman literature of the first century CE, a period of intense social upheaval and reorganization as Rome was transformed from a Republic to a form of hereditary monarchy under the emperor Augustus. Through a series of close readings of works by Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, and Statius, the volume scrutinizes the gender dynamics that permeate these ancient authors' language, imagery, and narrative structures. Analysing these texts "through and for the maternal", McAuley considers to what degree theirrepresentations of motherhood reflect, construct, or subvert Roman ideals of, and anxieties about, family, gender roles, and reproduction. The volume also explores the extent to which these representations distort or displace concerns about fatherhood or other relations of power in Augustan andpost-Augustan Rome. Keeping the ancient literary and historical context in view, the volume conducts a dialogue between these ancient male authors and modern feminist theorists - from Klein to Irigaray, Kristeva to Cavarero - to consider the relationship between motherhood as symbol and how amaternal subjectivity is suggested, developed, or suppressed by the authors. Readers are encouraged to consider the problems and possibilities of reading the maternal in these ancient texts, and to explore the unique site the maternal occupies in pre-modern discourses underpinning Westernculture.

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In the conservative and competitive society of ancient Rome, where the law of the father (patria potestas) was supposedly absolute, motherhood took on complex aesthetic, moral, and political meanings in elite literary discourse. Reproducing Rome is a study of the representation of maternity inthe Roman literature of the first century C...

Mairead McAuley is a lecturer in Classics at University College London.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:464 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.31 inPublished:November 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199659362

ISBN - 13:9780199659364

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction: Seeking the Mother in Imperial Roman LiteraturePart 1: Augustan Epic2. Maternal Impressions: Reading Mothers in Virgil's Aeneid and Georgics 3. Matermorphoses: Motherhood and the Ovidian Epic SubjectPart 2: Seneca4. The Textual Mother: Seneca's Consolatio ad Helviam Matrem5. The Politics of Maternal Representation: Medea and Phaedra6. Where the Unborn Lie: The Uncanny Mothers of Troades (or Ways of Reading a Mother in Senecan Tragedy)Part 3: Statian Epic7. Matres and Metaphors in Thebes: Statius' Thebaid8. Scit cetera mater: Motherhood and Poetic Filiation in Statian EpicEpilogueBibliographyIndex