Senecan Tragedy and the Reception of Augustan Poetry by Christopher V. Trinacty

By Christopher V. Trinacty

Of their perform of aemulatio, the mimicry of older versions of writing, the Augustan poets frequently seemed to the Greeks: Horace drew thought from the lyric poets, Virgil from Homer, and Ovid from Hesiod, Callimachus, and others. yet by the point of the nice Roman tragedian Seneca, the Augustan poets had supplanted the Greeks because the "classics" to which Seneca and his contemporaries referred. certainly, Augustan poetry is a reservoir of language, motif, and notion for Seneca's writing. surprisingly, although, there has now not but been a finished learn revealing the connection among Seneca and his Augustan predecessors. Christopher Trinacty's Senecan Tragedy and the Reception of Augustan Poetry is the long-awaited solution to the decision for one of these research.

Senecan Tragedy and the Reception of Augustan Poetry uniquely areas Senecan tragedy in its Roman literary context, delivering an additional measurement to the motivations and which means at the back of Seneca's writings. through interpreting Senecan tragedy via an intertextual lens, Trinacty unearths Seneca's wisdom of his old second, during which the Augustan interval used to be eroding gradually round him. Seneca, in retrospect to the poetry of Horace, Virgil, and Ovid, acts as a severe interpreter of either their paintings and their period. He deconstructs the language of the Augustan poets, refiguring it throughout the viewpoint of his tragic protagonists. In doing so, he positions himself as a critic of the Augustan culture and divulges a poetic voice that frequently subverts the classical ethos of that culture. via this strategy of reappropriation Seneca finds a lot approximately himself as a playwright and as a guy: within the creative demeanour during which he re-employs the Augustan poets' language, concept, and poetics in the tragic framework, Seneca supplies his version works new--and uniquely Senecan--life.

Trinacty's research sheds new mild either on Seneca and on his Augustan predecessors. As such, Senecan Tragedy and the Reception of Augustan Poetry delivers to be a groundbreaking contribution to the learn of either Senecan tragedy and Augustan poetry.

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Example text

The opening, “I recognize my Lucilius” (Agnosco Lucilium meum, Ep. 56 Neither wealth, nor beauty, nor power can help in one’s moral progress, but a virtuous soul combined with an active pursuit of knowledge is the key. At this point Seneca makes use of the Vergilian line (Ep. 11): et te quoque dignum finge deo. Finges autem non auro vel argento; non potest ex hac materia imago deo exprimi similis; cogita illos, cum propitii essent, fictiles fuisse. And, in addition, fashion yourself Worthy of god.

Dahlmann (1977). 36 chapter 1 Vergilian line but also his ease in appropriating Augustan material for his own diverse ends. While the prose works bring to light the philosophical importance of Vergil’s lines and show Seneca’s familiarity with Vergil’s Georgics and Aeneid, Seneca also includes variants of this line (Aen. 274–5) in two of his tragic depictions of the Underworld. Is there an innovative interpretation given to the line in its tragic context, as in the philosophical epistles? , Vergil is writing about the Underworld, and therefore Seneca includes the line in his own depiction of the Underworld)?

2. 8 My study does not aim to uncover hidden Stoic meaning in the tragedies, but rather to investigate the manner in which the works of previous poets are incorporated autonomously in Seneca’s prose and poetic works. Frequently Seneca philosophus provides a Stoic interpretation of such lines in his letters and dialogues, but such an interpretation is often far away from the sentiment of Seneca tragicus. It may be impossible (and incorrect) to posit one single “reading strategy” on Seneca’s part as he approaches the work of previous poets.

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