Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Sublime Seneca
Ethics, Literature, Metaphysics


  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107090019

£ 72.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This is an extended meditation on ethics in literature across the Senecan corpus. There are two chapters on the Moral Letters, asking how one is to read philosophy or how one can write about being. Moving from the Letters to the Natural Questions and Dialogues, Professor Gunderson explores how authorship works at the level both of the work and of the world, the ethics of seeing, and the question of how one can give up on the here and now and behold instead some other, better ethical sphere. Seneca's tragedies offer words of caution: desire might well subvert reason at its most profound level (Phaedra), or humanity's painful separation from the sublime might be part of some cruel divine plan (The Madness of Hercules). The book concludes by considering what, if anything, we are to make of Seneca's efforts to enlighten us.

    • Examines Seneca's prose and poetry as part of the same enterprise rather than separately, as tends to happen
    • Explores a variety of philosophical works together rather than in isolation, including the Moral Letters, Natural Questions, and select Dialogues
    • Provides a literary reading of Seneca's philosophy and a philosophical reading of his poetry
    Read more

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107090019
    • length: 238 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Misreading Seneca
    2. Writing metaphysics
    3. The nature of Seneca
    4. The spectacle of ethics
    5. Losing Seneca
    6. The analytics of desire
    7. The last monster
    Conclusion: the metaphysics of Senecan morals.

  • Author

    Erik Gunderson, University of Toronto
    Erik Gunderson is Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto. He is the author of four other scholarly monographs: Laughing Awry: Plautus and Tragicomedy (2014); Nox Philologiae: Aulus Gellius and the Fantasy of the Ancient Library (2009); Declamation, Paternity and Roman Identity: Authority and the Rhetorical Self (2003); and Staging Masculinity: The Rhetoric of Performance in the Roman World (2000). He is also the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rhetoric (2009). His work spans languages, genres and eras, and he consistently brings to bear modern critical perspectives when exploring the ancient world.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.