Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science

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Daryn Lehoux, A. D. Morrison, Alison Sharrock
OUP Oxford, May 9, 2013 - History - 326 pages
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Lucretius' didactic masterpiece De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) is one of the most brilliant and powerful poems in the Latin language, a passionate attempt at dispelling humanity's fear of death and its enslavement by false beliefs about the gods, and a detailed exposition of Epicurean atomist physics. For centuries, it has raised the question of whether it is primarily a poem or primarily a philosophical treatise, which also presents scientific doctrine. The current volume seeks to unite the three disciplinary aspects - poetry, philosophy, and science - in order to offer a holistic response to an important monument in cultural history. With ten original essays and an analytical introduction, the volume aims not only to combine different approaches within single covers, but to offer responses to the poem by experts from all three scholarly backgrounds. Philosophers and scholars of ancient science look closely at the artistic placement of individual words, while literary critics explore ethical matters and the contribution of Lucretius' poetry to the argument of the poem. Topics covered include death and grief, evolution and the cosmos, ethics and politics, perception, and epistemology.

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1 Piety Labour and Justice in Lucretius and Hesiod
2 The Political Epistemology of Infinity
3 Lucretius Epicurus and the Logic of Multiple Explanations
4 Nature Spontaneity and Voluntary Action in Lucretius
5 Seeing and Unseeing Seen and Unseen
6 The Poetic Logic of Negative Exceptionalism in Lucretius Book Five
7 Lucretius and the Epicurean Attitude towards Grief
8 Nil igitur mors est ad nos? Iphianassa the Athenian Plague and Epicurean Views of Death
9 Lucretius and Ovid on Empedoclean Cows and Sheep
10 FirstBeginnings and NeverEndings in Lucan and Lucretius
Index Locorum
General Index

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About the author (2013)

Daryn Lehoux is Professor of Classics at Queen's University. He is the author of Astronomy, Weather, and Calendars in the Ancient World (2007) and What Did the Romans Know? An Inquiry into Science and Worldmaking (2012).

A. D. Morrison is Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Manchester. He is the author of The Narrator in Archaic Greek and Hellenistic Poetry (2007), Performances and Audiences in Pindar's Sicilian Victory Odes (2007), and co-editor of Ancient Letters (OUP 2007).

Alison Sharrock is Professor of Classics at the University of Manchester. She is the author of Seduction and Repetition in Ovid's Ars Amatoria 2 (OUP 1994) and Reading Roman Comedy: Poetics and Playfulness in Plautus and Terence (2009), and co-editor of Intratextuality: Greek and Roman Textual Relations (OUP 2000) and The Art of Love: Bimillennial Essays on Ovid's Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris (OUP, 2006). She is co-editor (with David Konstan) of the series Oxford Studies in Classical Literature and Gender Theory, for which she is planning a book on Lucretius.