Statius' Silvae and the Poetics of Empire

Statius' Silvae and the Poetics of Empire

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Statius' Silvae, written late in the reign of Domitian (AD 81-96), are a new kind of poetry that confronts the challenge of imperial majesty or private wealth by new poetic strategies and forms. As poems of praise, they delight in poetic excess whether they honour the emperor or the poet's friends. Yet extravagant speech is also capacious speech. It functions as a strategy for conveying the wealth and grandeur of villas, statues and precious works of art as well as the complex emotions aroused by the material and political culture of empire. The Silvae are the product of a divided, self-fashioning voice. Statius was born in Naples of non-aristocratic parents. His position as outsider to the culture he celebrates gives him a unique perspective on it. The Silvae are poems of anxiety as well as praise, expressive of the tensions within the later period of Domitian's reign.

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  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 28mm | 621.42g
  • CambridgeUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0521126118
  • 9780521126113
  • 1,689,790

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Review of the hardback: '... a valuable contribution to the scholarship on Flavian poetry ... A sophisticated and relevant critique ... an ambitious and learned project, characterised throughout by an alert eye for detail and inter- (and intra-) textual connections ... A book-length study of Silvae had been badly needed for some time and this one is bound to give ample food for thought and promote important debates on the Flavian era and Flavian art.' Efi Spentzou, Royal Holloway, University of London

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About Carole E. Newlands

Carole Newlands is Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has published Playing with Time: Ovid and the Fasti (1995).

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