Pestilence and the Body Politic in Latin Literature

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Pestilence and the Body Politic in Latin Literature
Format:
Bog, hardback
Udgivelsesdato:
11-07-2019
Sprog:
Engelsk
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Scientists, journalists, novelists, and filmmakers continue to generate narratives of contagion, stories shaped by a tradition of disease discourse that extends to early Greco-Roman literature. Lucretius, Vergil, and Ovid developed important conventions of the western plague narrative as a response to the breakdown of the Roman res publica in the mid-first century CE and the reconstitution of stabilized government under the Augustan Principate (31 BCE-14CE): relying on the metaphoric relationship between the human body and the body politic, these authors used largely fictive representations of epidemic disease to address the collapse of the social order and suggest remedies for its recovery. Theorists such as Susan Sontag and Rene Girard have observed how the rhetoric of disease frequently signals social, psychological, or political pathologies, but their observations have rarely been applied to Latin literary practices. Pestilence and the Body Politic in Latin Literature explores how the origins and spread of outbreaks described by Roman writers enact a drama in which the concerns of the individual must be weighed against those of the collective, staged in anenvironment signalling both reversion to a pre-historic Golden Age and the devastation characteristic of a post-apocalyptic landscape. Such innovations in Latin literature have impacted representations as diverse as Carlo Coppola's paintings of a seventeenth-century outbreak of bubonic plague in Naples and MargaretAtwood's Maddaddam Trilogy. Understanding why Latin writers developed these tropes for articulating contagious disease and imbuing them with meaning for the collapse of the Roman body politic allows us to clarify what more recent disease discourses mean both for their creators and for the populations they afflict in contemporary media.

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Udgivelsesdato:
11-07-2019
ISBN13:
9780198796428
Vægt:
524 g
Dybde:
25 mm
Bredde:
143 mm
Højde:
220 mm
Format:
Hardback
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  • Bibliotekernes beskrivelse

    Roman writers of the late Roman Republic and early Empire developed important conventions of the western plague narrative as a response to the destabilization of the body politic. This volume examines how they used largely fictive representations of epidemic disease to address the collapse of the social order and suggest remedies for its recovery. 4 black-and-white illustations

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Pestilence and the Body Politic in Latin Literature

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