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The employment of mythological language and imagery by an Epicurean poet - an adherent of a system not only materialist, but overtly hostile to myth and poetry - is highly paradoxical. This apparent contradiction has often been ascribed to a conflict in the poet between reason and intellect, or to a desire to enliven his philosophical material with mythological digressions. This book attempts to provide a more positive assessment of Lucretius' aims and methodology by considering the poet's attitude to myth, and the role which it plays in the De Rerum Natura, against the background of earlier and contemporary views. The author suggests that Lucretius was not only aware of the tension between his two roles as philosopher and poet, but attempted to resolve it by developing his own, Epicurean poetic, together with a bold and innovative theory of the origins and meaning of myth.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521451352
ISBN-10: 0521451353
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 138mm x 19mm)
Pages: 276
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 10-Mar-1994
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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