Imperial Projections

Imperial Projections : Ancient Rome in Modern Popular Culture

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The phenomenal success of the recent film Gladiator ensures that ancient Rome will continue to inspire moviemakers and attract audiences as it has done since the dawn of cinema. Indeed, the creators of popular culture have so often appropriated elements of Roman history and society for films and television programs, novels and comic books, advertising and computer games that most people's knowledge of ancient Rome derives from these representations. In Imperial Projections, scholars from a variety of fields-classics, history, film studies, and gender theory-provide an interdisciplinary look at how ancient Rome has been depicted in the media and what these varied portrayals tell us about contemporary culture.

The essays in Imperial Projections examine such films as Spartacus, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, and The Fall of the Roman Empire; the acclaimed BBC television series I, Claudius; the Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; and the Roman-themed Las Vegas casino Caesars Palace, combining ancient history and cutting-edge cultural studies in a challenging, engaging, and informative volume.

Contributors: Nicholas J. Cull, William Fitzgerald, Alison Futrell, Sandra R. Joshel, Margaret Malamud, Martha Malamud, Donald T. McGuire, Jr., Martin M. Winkler, and Maria Wyke
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Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 26mm | 658g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • 28 Halftones, black and white
  • 0801867428
  • 9780801867422

Table of contents

Introduction by Sandra R. Joshel, Margaret Malamud, and Maria Wyke
Chapter 1: "Oppositions, Anxieties, and Ambiguities in the Toga Movie" by William Fitzgerald
Chapter 2: "The Roman Empire in American Cinema after 1945" by Martin Winkler
Chapter 3: "Seeing Red: Spartacus as Domestic Economist" by Alison Futrell
Chapter 4: "I, Claudius: Projection and Imperial Soap Opera" by Sandra R. Joshel
Chapter 5: "'Infamy! Infamy! They've All Got It in for Me!': Carry on Cleo and the British Camp Comedies of Ancient Rome" by Nicholas Cull
Chapter 6: "Brooklyn on the Tiber: Roman Comedy on Broadway and in Film" by Margaret Malamud
Chapter 7: "Serial Romans" by Martha Malamud
Chapter 8: "Shared Sexualities: Roman Soldiers, Derek Jarman's Sebastiane, and British Homosexuality" by Maria Wyke
Chapter 9: "Living Like Romans in Las Vegas: The Roman World at Caesar's Palace" by Margaret Malamud and Donald T. McGuire, Jr.
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Review quote

An excellent collection of essays... Among the best are Nicholas J. Cull's exploration of Carry On Cleo and its brilliant send up of the epic Cleopatra... and Margaret Malamud's careful look at the Broadway and cinema version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum... The outstanding contribution to Imperial Projections is, however, Sandra Joshel's essay on I, Claudius. -- Mary Beard * Times Literary Supplement * This volume aids and abets a reader's own meditation on the empires of Britain, America, and Hollywood, and the ways in which the Roman empire has been an abiding vehicle for simultaneously manifesting, indulging, interrogating, and critiquing the ambitions of these more recent empires. -- Rebecca Resinski * Key Reporter * Imperial Projections is a terrific book. It successfully merges modern cultural critique with sound classical scholarship, and does so in a manner that is enjoyable to read and intellectually challenging. -- Kirk Ormand * Bryn Mawr Classical Review * An insightful exploration into how Imperial Rome, in its various popular guises, has provided a malleable and commercially viable mythos that has found special receptivity in modern America. -- Amy Henderson * History: Reviews of New Books * This engaging volume capitalizes on contemporary interest in the decadence and excess that characterizes Rome in the modern, as indeed in the ancient, imagination... Read it and enjoy! -- A. M. Keith * New England Classical Journal * An excellent example of what might be called the allegorical mode of cinematic interpretation, in which movies are understood as texts about the cultures that make and consume them. * Scope: Online Journal of Film Studies * Imperial Projections provides some intriguing new perspectives on such pop culture representations of Rome and the Romans. -- Catherine Colegrove * Classical Outlook *
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About Sandra R. Joshel

Sandra R. Joshel is a professor of history at the University of Washington. Margaret Malamud is an associate professor of history at New Mexico State University. Donald T. McGuire, Jr. is Director of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisement Services and adjunct assistant professor of Classics at SUNY, Buffalo.
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Rating details

13 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
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