Virgil and the Augustan Reception by Richard F. Thomas

By Richard F. Thomas

This ebook examines the ideological reception of Virgil at particular moments long ago millennia. It specializes in the emperor Augustus within the poetry of Virgil, detects within the poets and grammarians of antiquity professional- and anti-Augustan readings, reviews Dryden's 1697 Royalist translation, and likewise naive American translation. It scrutinizes nineteenth-century philology's rewriting or excision of troubling readings, and covers readings by means of either supporters and competitors of fascism and nationwide Socialism. eventually it examines how successive a while have made the Aeneid agree to their upbeat expectancies of this poet.

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Virgil and the Augustan Reception

This booklet examines the ideological reception of Virgil at particular moments some time past millennia. It specializes in the emperor Augustus within the poetry of Virgil, detects within the poets and grammarians of antiquity seasoned- and anti-Augustan readings, experiences Dryden's 1697 Royalist translation, and likewise naive American translation.

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14 39 Perkell (1994). fighting in the captain's tower Fighting in the captain's tower: (1) What is a Classic? The assumption of classicism has always been the dominant mode of Virgilian criticism, long before T. S. Eliot's 1944 Presidential Address to the Virgil Society set that assumption in stone. That is what happens when a poet is taught in his own lifetime and when his particular style attains a normative status, and becomes a sort of cultural, linguistic and even religious koine. From Servius and before him critics have tended to monumentalize Virgil.

Some will object that this is not a situation appropriate to the relationship between Virgil and Octavian/Augustus. I will address that issue shortly; for now I am concerned to establish it as a principle of composition recognized in the Greek and Roman rhetorical traditions, and therefore fully accessible to Virgil. Discussion of this ®gure is in fact found already in Demetrius' De elocutione 282±94, and one example is particularly relevant to our enquiry (291): Words are often used with equivocal meaning.

2) Virgil as monument In G. B. Conte's Latin Literature. '' And on the next page, on Lucan and the Aeneid: Lucan seems to propose a systematic refutation of the model by virtually overturning its assertions, a polemical (or ``antiphrastic,'' as it has been called) rehandling of Virgilian expressions and situations. This new type of allusiveness is sustained by a tone of resentful indignatio towards the model. It is as if Virgil had perpetrated a deception in the Aeneid, covering in a veil of mysti®cation the end of Roman liberty and the transformation of the old Republic into a tyranny.

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