The employment of mythological language and imagery by an Epicurean poet - an adherent of a system not only materialist, but overtly hostile to myth and poetry - is highly paradoxical. This apparent contradiction has often been ascribed to a conflict in the poet between reason and intellect, or to a desire to enliven his philosophical material with mythological digressions. This book attempts to provide a more positive assessment of Lucretius' aims and methodology by considering the poet's attitude to myth, (...) and the role which it plays in the De Rerum Natura, against the background of earlier and contemporary views. The author suggests that Lucretius was not only aware of the tension between his two roles as philosopher and poet, but attempted to resolve it by developing his own, Epicurean poetic, together with a bold and innovative theory of the origins and meaning of myth. (shrink)
The overwhelming importance of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura for the interpretation of the Georgics is recognized by almost all critics. As W. Y. Sellar expressed it over a hundred years ago, ‘the influence, direct and indirect, exercised by Lucretius on the thought, composition and even the diction of the Georgics was perhaps stronger than that ever exercised, before or since, by one poet on the work of another’. Richard Thomas' recent commentary attempts to play down the extent of this influence, (...) contending that ‘the debt of Virgil to Lucretius in the Georgics is predominantly formal’, and manifests itself chiefly on a verbal level, whereby the poet seeks ‘to create a didactic appearance for his poem’. The aim of this paper is to reassert the pervasive importance of Lucretian ideas, as well as Lucretian language, throughout the poem, and particularly in Virgil's presentation of the physical and metaphysical relationships between man and beast. (shrink)
John Conington was a towering figure in Victorian scholarship, not least because of his remarkably sensitive and literate commentaries on Virgil’s _Aeneid. _The three-volume cloth edition of _The Works of Virgil_, begun by Conington in 1852, has been unavailable for over a century, except in rare second-hand sets. Now, for the first time, the whole of Conington’s work is being reissued in a set of six paperback volumes. Each volume includes a new introduction by an established scholar, setting Conington's commentary (...) in context, as well as a general introduction to Conington’s work by Philip Hardie, who offers a fresh appreciation of the work. (shrink)
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