No Regrets

No Regrets : Remorse in Classical Antiquity

By (author) Laurel Fulkerson

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No Regrets: Remorse in Classical Antiquity is the first sustained study examining the circumstances under which the emotions of remorse and regret were manifested in Greek and Roman public life. Despite a still-common notion that remorse is a modern, monotheistic emotion, it argues that remorse did in fact exist in pre-Christian antiquity. By discussing the standard lexical denotations of remorse, Fulkerson shows how its parameters were rather different from its modern counterpart. Remorse in the ancient world was normally not expressed by high-status individuals, but by their inferiors, notably women, the young, and subjects of tyrants, nor was it redemptive, but often served to show defect of character. Through a series of examples, especially poetic, historical, and philosophical texts, this book demonstrates this was so because of the very high value placed on consistency of character in the ancient world. High-status men, in particular, faced constant challenges to their position, and maintaining at least the appearance of uniformity was essential to their successful functioning. The redemptive aspects of remorse, of learning from one's mistakes, were thus nearly absent in the ancient world.

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  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 144 x 216 x 26mm | 479.99g
  • 16 Aug 2013
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 0199668892
  • 9780199668892
  • 1,343,789

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Author Information

Laurel Fulkerson is an Associate Professor at Florida State University. In addition to work on the emotions, she has published articles on gender, Latin, and Greek poetry. She has held visiting fellowships at the University of Cincinnati, Exeter College, and St. Anne's College, Oxford.

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Review quote

She has provided path-breaking analyses of ancient moments of this mordant emotion, and other scholars will supplement her pioneering, case-study coverage. Donald Lateiner, Classical Journal Online

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