Self-representation and Illusion in Senecan Tragedy

Self-representation and Illusion in Senecan Tragedy

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C. A. J. Littlewood approaches Seneca's tragedies as Neronian literature rather than as reworkings of Attic drama, and emphasizes their place in the Roman world and in the Latin literary corpus. The Greek tragic myths are for Seneca mediated by non-dramatic Augustan literature. In literary terms Phaedra's desire, Hippolytus' innocence, and Hercules' ambivalent heroism look back through allusion to Roman elegy, pastoral, and epic respectively. Ethically, the artificiality of Senecan tragedy, the consciousness that its own dramatic worlds, events, and people are literary constructs, responds to the contemporary Stoical dismissal of the public world as mere theatre.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 340 pages
  • 144 x 216 x 26mm | 521.64g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0199267618
  • 9780199267613

About C.A.J. Littlewood

Cedric Littlewood is Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada

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Table of contents

1. Introduction ; 2. The broken world ; 3. Images of a flawed technical genesis ; 4. Meta-theatre and self-consciousness ; 5. Phaedra: intertextuality and innocence

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Review quote

[Littlewood's] talent at teasing out subtleties of character and style while keeping an eye on the complex thematic whole makes the book valuable for advanced undergraduates as well as scholars of Latin drama or Neronian Rome. Joy Connolly, Classical World

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