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Anatomizing Civil War

Studies in Lucan's Epic Technique

Subjects: Classical Studies, Roman
Hardcover : 9780472118502, 200 pages, 6 x 9, January 2013
Open Access : 9780472901050, 200 pages, 6 x 9, May 2018

This open access version made available with the support of libraries participating in Knowledge Unlatched.
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Traces Lucan's epic technique

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Imperial Latin epic has seen a renaissance of scholarly interest. This book illuminates the work of the poet Lucan, a contemporary of the emperor Nero who as nephew of the imperial adviser Seneca moved in the upper echelons of Neronian society. This young and maverick poet, whom Nero commanded to commit suicide at the age of 26, left an epic poem on the civil war between Caesar and Pompey that epitomizes the exuberance and stylistic experimentation of Neronian culture. This study focuses on Lucan's epic technique and traces his influence through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Martin T. Dinter's newest volume engages with Lucan's use of body imagery, sententiae, Fama (rumor), and open-endedness throughout his civil war epic. Although Lucan's Bellum Civile is frequently decried as a fragmented as well as fragmentary epic, this study demonstrates how Lucan uses devices other than teleology and cohesive narrative structure to bind together the many parts of his epic body.

Anatomizing Civil War places at center stage characteristics of Lucan's work that have so far been interpreted as excessive, or as symptoms of an overly rhetorical culture indicating a lack of substance. By demonstrating that they all contribute to Lucan's poetic technique, Martin T. Dinter shows how they play a fundamental role in shaping and connecting the many episodes of the Bellum Civile that constitute Lucan's epic body. This important volume will be of interest to students of classics and comparative literature as well as literary scholars. All Greek and Latin passages have been translated.

Martin T. Dinter is Lecturer in Latin Language and Literature at King's College, London.

"Dinter’s study contains a stimulating reading of Lucan’s epic with many noteworthy individual points ... and opens up promising perspectives for future work, not least on the reception of Lucan’s epic."
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

- Annemarie Ambühl, Leiden University; Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

"[An] impressive and learned study that largely succeeds in its attempt to explore and explain the most striking features of Lucan’s poetic artistry."
Religious Studies Review

- Religious Studies Review

"[Anatomizing Civil War] is a highly interesting must-read for Lucanists, as well as anyone with a rigorous interest in Lucan’s place in the epic tradition."
New England Classical Review

- Seán Easton, Gustavus Adolphus College

"Dinter has produced an important work of Lucan scholarship that will be of interest to any reader of this haunting Neronian epic..."
--Lee Fratantuono, Gnomon

- Lee Fratantuono

"Dinter launches a new critical approach to BC."
--The Classical Review

- Stephen Wheeler