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Memory in Vergil's Aeneid
Creating the Past

  • Date Published: September 2013
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781107287860

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About the Authors
  • Tracing the path from Troy's destruction to Rome's foundation, the Aeneid explores the transition between past and future. As the Trojans struggle to found a new city and the narrator sings of his audience's often-painful history, memory becomes intertwined with a crucial leitmotif: the challenge of being part of a group that survives violence and destruction only to face the daunting task of remembering what was lost. This book offers a new reading of the Aeneid that engages with critical work on memory and questions the prevailing view that Aeneas must forget his disastrous history in order to escape from a cycle of loss. Considering crucial scenes such as Aeneas' reconstruction of Celaeno's prophecy and his slaying of Turnus, this book demonstrates that memory in the Aeneid is a reconstructive and dynamic process, one that offers a social and narrative mechanism for integrating a traumatic past with an uncertain future.

    • Proposes a new view of memory's role in the Aeneid which moves beyond the typical opposition of remembering and forgetting
    • Engages fully with modern critical scholarship on memory
    • Considers the Aeneid within Rome's larger dialogue about the role of the past
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the book is well-researched, and scholars and students seeking a primer on critical work in memory studies would be well-advised to consult Seider's bibliography, especially the expansive footnotes in the introduction.' Matthew P. Loar, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    '… the strong aspect in Seider's approach is that he writes not so much about memory, but more about the 'thematization' of memory within the narrative. This way, his book enables us to see at a glance the enormous importance of remembering, revisiting, and forgetting in the epic plot and in the actions and emotions of characters and narrators alike.' Alessandro Barchiesi, Histos

    '… this book … deploys excellent detailed [analysis] alongside persuasive theoretical ideas, and is beautifully written; we should be most grateful to its author for a thoughtful and challenging treatment of its crucial topic, and for a subtle and balanced interpretation of the poem as a whole.' Stephen Harrison, De Novis Libris Iudicia

    'Seider's book is a welcome addition to the recent scholarly work on the Aeneid and makes a convincing case for the importance of analyzing the concept of memory as shaping history and identity in the poem … If the reviewer may appear to have more questions than answers, it is thanks to the rich and stimulating discussions found throughout the book. Seider's work tackles a fruitful line of inquity that will surely stimulate more research on the problem of memory and identity in Roman literature.' Vassiliki Panoussi, New England Classical Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2013
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781107287860
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Turning toward Rome
    2. The challenge of Troy
    3. A personal affair: memories of Dido
    4. The narrator's song
    5. Imperatives of memory: foundation and fury in Aeneid 12

  • Author

    Aaron M. Seider, College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts
    Aaron M. Seider is an Assistant Professor at the College of the Holy Cross.

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