The Epic Gaze: Vision, Gender and Narrative in Ancient Epic

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9781107016118: The Epic Gaze: Vision, Gender and Narrative in Ancient Epic

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.

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Book Description:

Explores ideas of vision, gender and power from Homer to Nonnus, Virgil to Silius Italicus. Readers of epic, and students of ancient society, will profit from this wide-ranging investigation. An eclectic array of theoretical perspectives illuminates central aspects of a key genre in Greek and Roman literature and culture.

About the Author:

Helen Lovatt is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Nottingham and her teaching includes epic and its reception. She is the author of Statius and Epic Games (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and co-editor, with Caroline Vout, of Epic Visions (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

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