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Virgil the Partisan: A Study in the Re-integration of Classics [Hardcover]

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Item description for Virgil the Partisan: A Study in the Re-integration of Classics by Anton Powell...

Virgil has been claimed as an ancestor by partisans of recent centuries: he has been seen as forerunner of Christianity, as a gentle `national poet' following World War II, as a kindred spirit for opponents of the Vietnam War, and recently as a critic of man's damage to the natural environment. However, most - except the young - feel that Virgil was not often concerned to express support for Octavian-Augustus. This near-consensus of literary critics rests on the tendency of political historians to skim the period between 44 and 31BC, and thus to ignore most aspects of Octavian's contemporary reputation. This book applies a historian's eye to the poetry of Virgil's work. It challenges the orthodoxy that Virgil was a faithful follower of inherited literary genre. It attends closely to his deviations from poetic tradition, and argues that - after the eclogues - those deviations form a pattern: Virgil has identified, addressed and sought to palliate, structurally and on a grand scale, the ugliest and most damaging aspects of Octavian's reputation. His Aeneas steals the clothes of Octavian's most powerful and popular opponent, a man - unlike Mark Antony - little noticed by modern historians. This study insists on the need to combine scholarly disciplines: to argue closely from Virgil's Latin, and from Greek literary genre - and to inform such arguments with a knowledge of ancient political writing and of contemporary coinage. The Virgil who emerges is a more purposive, bloodstained and courageous individual than most have wished to see. Powell's book aims to become a reference for all those who address - in whatever spirit - the question whether Virgil was deeply engaged in the politics of his time.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   310
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.15"
Weight:   1.54 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 30, 2008
Publisher   Classical Press of Wales
ISBN  1905125216  
ISBN13  9781905125210  

Availability  0 units.

More About Anton Powell

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Anton Powell is a leading author of books on the ancient Greeks for young readers. "Building glistening temples or warring with Sparta was not always 'ancient history.' It was once breaking news--and that is how it is told in THE GREEK NEWS."

Anton Powell has published or released items in the following series...
  1. History News (Candlewick)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics > Greek
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Virgil the Partisan: A Study in the Re-integration of Classics?

Choice Magazine, September 2008  Jul 17, 2008
Toward the end of this book, Powell (Univ. of Wales) sums up his approach as "proceeding from ideals expressed to realities suffered." A striking example of this is the chapter titled "The Theft of Pietas," in which the author argues that Virgil, unable to credit Octavian with pietas, creates the image of a pius ancestor, Aeneas, the incarnation of this virtue, which would then be transferred by association to Octavian. Powell himself is much more partial toward Sextus Pompeius -- witness Sextus Pompeius, which he edited with Kathryn Welch (2002)-- a fierce opponent of Octavian who styled himself Magnus Pius. One of Powell's objectives here is to shift the focus of Virgilian studies from individual works to the whole oeuvre and to see one intention in all of them, to defend the cause of Octavian-Augustus. Although he accepts the premises behind analyses of Virgil's works based on genre and architecture, Powell sees an overarching political structure. In elaborating this thesis he makes good use of neglected ancient historians of the period--Suetonius, Appian, Dio Cassius. His countercurrent argument is bound to stir up much controversy among traditional Virgilian scholars, which is all to the good. An absorbing read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
-- C. Fantazzi, East Carolina University (Choice, September 2008)

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