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The Ancient Lives of Virgil: Literary and Historical Studies

The Ancient Lives of Virgil: Literary and Historical Studies

Edited by: Senior Research Fellow and Honorary Professor of Latin Literature Philip Hardie (University of Cambridge), Dr Anton Powell (University of Wales Institute of Classics UK)

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Description

The Ancient Lives of the poet Virgil, written in prose (and sometimes in verse), have long enjoyed great, though controversial, influence. Modern critics have often been scornful of these Lives, for trying to construct biography of the poet from allegorical reading of his verse. Yet some elements of the Lives are trusted, and quietly adopted as canonical, most notably the dating of Virgil's death. Some vignettes in the Lives have been cherished for their image of an emotive poet, as when Virgil, by evoking in verse the premature death of Augustus' nephew Marcellus, caused the young man's bereaved mother to faint. Less romantic detail from the Lives, as of Virgil's privileged material circumstances at the heart of the Augustan regime, has been less regarded. The present volume, from a distinguished international team, aims to revalue the Ancient Lives of Virgil from a variety of angles and in a variety of scholarly genres. The allegory within the Lives is here studied for its own sake, and shown to be part of a developed Graeco-Roman school of interpretation. The literary character of the verse Life attributed to Phocas is respectfully analysed. Certain political references within the best-known prose Life, the Suetonian-Donatan', are shown to be apparently independent of allegory, and to be worth prospecting for new information on the poet's personal history. And ideas of Virgil received and developed with brio in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are here traced back to the Ancient Lives of the poet composed in Antiquity.

Author Info

Philip Hardie, Professor of Latin at the University of Cambridge, is an international authority on Classical Latin poetry and its reception. His most recent monograph is The Last Trojan Hero: A Cultural History of Virgil's Aeneid ( I.B.Tauris, 2014). Anton Powell is a specialist on Sparta, Thucydides, and the literature of the Roman revolution. His monograph Virgil the Partisan (CPW, 2008) was awarded the prize of the Vergilian Society of America for the book which makes the greatest contribution toward our understanding and appreciation of Vergil'.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: Classical Press of Wales
Publisher: Classical Press of Wales

Hardback
ISBN: 9781910589618
Publication Date: 30 May 2017

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