The Captor's Image
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The Captor's Image : Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis

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Description

An influential view of ecphrasis--the literary description of art objects--chiefly treats it as a way for authors to write about their own texts without appearing to do so, and even insist upon the aesthetic dominance of the literary text over the visual image. However, when considering its use in ancient Roman literature, this interpretation proves insufficient. The Captor's Image argues for the need to see Roman ecphrasis, with its prevalent focus on Hellenic images, as a site of subtle, ongoing competition between Greek and Roman cultures. Through close readings of ecphrases in a wide range of Latin authors--from Plautus, Catullus, and Horace to Vergil, Martial, and Ovid, among others--Dufallo contends that Roman ecphrasis reveals an uncertain receptivity to Greek culture that includes implications for the shifting notions of Roman identity in the Republican and Imperial periods. Individual chapters explore how the simple assumption of a self-asserting ecphrastic text is called into question by comic performance, intentionally inconsistent narrative, satire, Greek religious iconography, the contradictory associations of epic imagery, and the author's subjection to a patron. Visual material such as wall painting, statuary, and drinkware vividly contextualizes the discussion. As the first book-length treatment of artistic ecphrasis at Rome, The Captor's Image resituates a major literary trope within its hybrid cultural context while advancing the idea of ecphrasis as a cultural practice through which the Romans sought to redefine their identity with, and against, Greekness.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 25mm | 567g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 15 illus.
  • 0199735875
  • 9780199735877
  • 2,051,243

Review quote

`Using ecphrasis as a lens to focus on Rome's conflicted receptivity to Greek culture, Basil Dufallo's subtle and meticulous study offers a searching examination of a trope to which Roman authors repeatedly turn as they seek to articulate the cultural and ideological tensions in which they operate.`--Duncan F. Kennedy, University of Bristol `Professor Dufallo's brilliant survey of ecphrasis in Latin authors from Naevius to Apuleius expands the conversation by moving from strictly literary readings to larger cultural issues. With Greek art and literature always in the foreground, Dufallo directs us through a series of comparisons with, and reflections of, the Hellenic past as a crucial formative influence on Rome's voyage of self-discovery. A major achievement.`--Michael C. J. Putnam, Brown Universityshow more

About Basil Dufallo

Basil Dufallo is Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.show more

Table of contents

ABBREVIATIONS ; INTRODUCTION. GREEK CULTURE IN ROMAN ECPHRASIS; 1. STAGING ECPHRASIS IN EARLY LATIN LITERATURE: FROM NAEVIUS TO PLAUTUS AND TERENCE; 2. BECOMING ARIADNE: MARVELING AT PELEUS'S COVERLET WITH THE INCONSISTENT NARRATOR OF CATULLUS 64; 3. THE CHALLENGE OF RUSTIC ART: IDEALS OF ORDER IN VERGIL, ECLOGUES 3 AND HORACE, SATIRES 1.8; 4. DESCRIBING THE DIVINE: THE ECPHRASTIC TEMPLES OF VERGIL, GEORGICS 3.13-36 AND PROPERTIUS, ELEGIES 2.31; 5. HEROIC OBJECTS: ECPHRASIS IN THE AENEID AND METAMORPHOSES; 6. SEX, SATIRE, AND THE HYBRID SELF IN PETRONIAN ECPHRASIS; 7. THE PATRON'S IMAGE: PHILHELLENISM, PANEGYRIC, AND ECPHRASIS IN STATIUS AND MARTIAL; EPILOGUE. CAPTIVES AND CAPTORS: APULEIUS AND PHILOSTRATUS; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEXshow more