Reading Rivers in Roman Literature and Culture

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Lexington Books, 2005 - Philosophy - 123 pages
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Reading Rivers is the first book in a new series: Roman Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Author Prudence Jones examines rivers as a literary phenomenon, particularly in the poetry of Vergil. The point of such an investigation is twofold: an examination of VergilOs poetry elucidates particularly clearly a point about rivers: that their inclusion functions almost as a literary device, and an examination of rivers makes a point about Vergil: that rivers are essential to understanding the trajectory of his works, in particular the structure of the Aeneid. This study depends primarily on the close analysis of the poetry of Vergil and of other relevant authors. In Part I Jones examines the Greco-Roman understanding of the river in its primary symbolic roles: cosmological, ritual and ethnographical. Part II analyzes the river as a literary device, with particular attention to the works of Vergil, and argues that descriptions of rivers in Roman poetry are, in many cases, a form of authorial comment on the progress or structure of a narrative. Jones gives scholars in the classics, and literary critics who focus specifically on Roman antiquity a special prism through which to view the works of Vergil as well as other significant authors. This book is also for those working in the fields of cultural studies, cultural geography, and ancient philosophy.
 

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Contents

Cosmology
1
Ritual
17
Ethnography
35
The River that Talks Rivers and Poetic Speech
49
Round Rivers Okeanos and Bounded Narrative
69
Agmen Aquarum River Catalogues
79
Up the Creek Upstream Voyages and Narrative Structure
91
Overflow The Reception of River Motifs
103
Bibliography
107
Index
117
About the Author
123
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About the author (2005)

Prudence J. Jones is Assistant Professor of Humanities and the Classics at Montclair State University

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