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This is the first systematic study of the sublime in Lucan. Drawing upon renewed critical interest in the tradition of philosophical aesthetics, the book argues that the category of the sublime offers a means of moving beyond readings of Lucan's epic poem Bellum Civile in terms of political commitment or 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, it charts Lucan's complex and instructive exploration of the relationship between sublimity and ethical discourses of freedom and oppression. Through its representation of the apocalypse 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, the Bellum Civile emerges as a central text in the history of the sublime.
Table of Contents
The experience of the sublime
Representation, the sublime and the Bellum Civile
The Caesarian sublime
The Pompeian sublime
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