Lucan and the Sublime: Power, Representation and Aesthetic Experience

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 24, 2013 - History - 262 pages
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This is the first comprehensive study of the sublime in Lucan. Drawing upon renewed literary-critical interest in the tradition of philosophical aesthetics, Henry Day argues that the category of the sublime offers a means of moving beyond readings of Lucan's Bellum civile in terms of the poem's political commitment or, alternatively, nihilism. Demonstrating in dialogue with theorists from Burke and Kant to Freud, Lyotard and Ankersmit the continuing vitality of Longinus' foundational treatise On the Sublime, Day charts Lucan's complex and instructive exploration of the relationship between sublimity and ethical discourses of freedom and oppression. Through the Bellum civile's cataclysmic vision of civil war and metapoetic accounts of its own genesis, through its heated linguistic texture and proclaimed effects upon future readers, and, most powerfully of all, through its representation of its twin protagonists Caesar and Pompey, Lucan's great epic emerges as a central text in the history of the sublime.

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About the author (2013)

Henry Day has taught at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and at Birkbeck, University of London, and has worked as a consultant on classical subjects for the London Review of Books and BBC television. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2011 by Lincoln's Inn and is now pursuing a career as a barrister.

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