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The epic genre has at its heart fascination and horror at viewing death. Epic heroes have active visual power, yet become objects, turned into monuments, watched by two main audiences: the gods above and the women on the sidelines. This stimulating and ambitious study investigates the theme of vision in Greek and Latin epic from Homer to Nonnus, bringing the edges of epic into dialogue with the most celebrated moments (the visual confrontation of Hector and Achilles, the failure of Turnus' gaze), revealing epic as both massive assertion of authority and fractured representation. It demonstrates the complexity of epic constructions of gender: from Apollonius' Medea toppling Talos with only her eyes to Parthenopaeus as object of desire. On display are the vertical gaze of the gods, mortal responses, prophets as penetrative viewers and rape victims, ecphrasis as objectification, women on the walls gazing sidelong, heroic bodies fragmented and fetishized.Read more
- Provides an overview of the epic genre and insights into Greek and Roman ideas about vision, gender, mortality and heroism
- Uses theoretical approaches from film studies and gender studies to read ancient epic and insights from ancient epic to enrich theoretical perspectives
- Puts the central texts of ancient epic (Homer and Virgil) into dialogue with less well-known poems (Flavian epic, imperial Greek epic)
Reviews & endorsements
"The Epic Gaze is distinguished by the comprehensiveness of its discussion from Homer to Nonnus … strongly recommended for anyone interested in Greco-Roman epic, ancient narrative, or ancient theories of vision."
Neil W. Bernstein, Bryn Mawr Classical ReviewSee more reviews
"… a detailed, thoughtful examination of vision in classical epic … Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty."
S. E. Goins, Choice
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- Date Published: August 2013
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107016118
- length: 424 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 163 x 30 mm
- weight: 0.75kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
2. The divine gaze
3. The mortal gaze
4. The prophetic gaze
5. Ecphrasis and the Other
6. The female gaze
7. Heroic bodies on display
8. The assaultive gaze
9. Fixing it for good. Medusa and monumentality.
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