Madness plays a vital role in many ancient epics: not only do characters go mad, but madness also often occupies a central thematic position in the texts. In this book, Debra Hershkowitz examines from a variety of theoretical angles the representation and poetic function of madness in Greek and Latin epic from Homer through the Flavians, including individual chapters devoted to the Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Lucan's Bellum Civile, and Statius' Thebaid. The study also addresses the difficulty of defining madness, and discusses how each epic explores this problem in a different way, finding its own unique way of conceptualizing madness. Epic madness interacts with ancient models of madness, but also, even more importantly, with previous representations of madness in the literary tradition. Likewise, the reader's response to epic madness is influenced by both ancient and modern views of madness, as well as by an awareness of intertextuality.
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(224mm x 145mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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