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By Henry J. M. Day

This can be the 1st complete research of the chic in Lucan. Drawing upon renewed literary-critical curiosity within the culture of philosophical aesthetics, Henry Day argues that the class of the chic deals a way of relocating past readings of Lucan's Bellum civile by way of the poem's political dedication or, however, nihilism. Demonstrating in discussion with theorists from Burke and Kant to Freud, Lyotard and Ankersmit the ongoing power of Longinus' foundational treatise at the elegant, Day charts Lucan's complicated and instructive exploration of the connection among sublimity and moral discourses of freedom and oppression. during the Bellum civile's cataclysmic imaginative and prescient of civil warfare and metapoetic money owed of its personal genesis, via its heated linguistic texture and proclaimed results upon destiny readers, and, so much powerfully of all, via its illustration of its dual protagonists Caesar and Pompey, Lucan's nice epic emerges as a principal textual content within the historical past of the elegant.

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Additional resources for Lucan and the Sublime: Power, Representation and Aesthetic Experience (Cambridge Classical Studies)

Sample text

Ankersmit (2005) 107. Cf. Martindale (1993) 31–2: ‘The text can be read, in the author’s “absence”, “nonpresence”, because meaning is constituted, not within consciousness, but within textuality . . Reading would then be, not simply a matter of “decoding” meanings, but rather an encounter. ’ It is a short step from this deconstruction of subject and object to Martindale’s subsequent championing of aesthetic, experiential criticism. 22 introduction reminds us that the relationship between representation and that which is represented cannot ultimately be articulated in terms of ‘truth’.

Reading Longinus through his fellow sublimicists, and vice versa, I argue in particular for the idea that sublime experience, however formulated, hinges upon a transference of power from object to subject. This view of the sublime as a concept fundamentally implicated in questions of power also brings to the fore the issues of freedom and its curtailment upon which subsequent chapters focus. Working with this model, Chapter 2 considers how the Bellum civile responds linguistically to the challenge of the sublime, represents the claims to sublime experience made by the Lucanian narrator and projects these same claims onto its readers.

75 Bourdieu’s assertion of ideology’s total primacy is extreme but, as Martindale himself admits, it is in practice just as difficult to claim total autonomy for the aesthetic. He goes on to argue that, contrary to its critics, the aesthetic can be claimed by radicals as well as conservatives but this observation in itself implies that the 73 74 24 Martindale (2005) 22. Bourdieu (1984) 493, cited by Martindale (2005) 23. 75 Martindale (2005) 23. 77 This does not mean, however, that the political can be done away with entirely.

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