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Title: Ancient Lives of Virgil: Literary and Historical Studies
Author: Hardie, Philip
Additional Authors or Contributors: Anton Powell (eds)
Publisher: Classical Press of Wales; Publication Date: 2017
Hardcover; ISBN: 9781910589618
Volumes: 1; Pages: 250
List Price in Hardcover: $85.00 Our price: $68.99
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The Ancient Lives of the poet Virgil, written in prose (and sometimes in verse), have long enjoyed great, though controversial, influence. Modern critics have often been scornful of these Lives, for trying to construct biography of the poet from allegorical reading of his verse. Yet some elements of the Lives are trusted, and quietly adopted as canonical, most notably the dating of Virgil's death. Some vignettes in the Lives have been cherished for their image of an emotive poet, as when Virgil, by evoking in verse the premature death of Augustus' nephew Marcellus, caused the young man's bereaved mother to faint. Less romantic detail from the Lives, as of Virgil's privileged material circumstances at the heart of the Augustan regime, has been less regarded.
The present volume, from a distinguished international team, aims to revalue the Ancient Lives of Virgil from a variety of angles and in a variety of scholarly genres. The allegory within the Lives is here studied for its own sake, and shown to be part of a developed Graeco-Roman school of interpretation. The literary character of the verse Life attributed to Phocas is respectfully analysed. Certain political references within the best-known prose Life, the `Suetonian-Donatan', are shown to be apparently independent of allegory, and to be worth prospecting for new information on the poet's personal history. And ideas of Virgil received and developed with brio in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are here traced back to the Ancient Lives of the poet composed in Antiquity.
Irene Peirano Garrison (Yale) `Between biography and commentary: the ancient horizon of expectation of the Suetonian-Donatan Life of Virgil' Stephen Harrison (Oxford) `The Vita Phocae: literary context and texture' Scott McGill (Rice) `The elevation of Virgil in Phocas' Vita Vergiliana' Anton Powell (Swansea) `Sinning against philology? Historical method and the Suetonian-Donatan Life of Virgil' Hans Smolenaars (Amsterdam) ` The historical truth of Virgil's recitation of the Georgics in Atella (VSD ch. 27)' Ahuvia Kahane (Royal Holloway) `Biography and Virgil's Epitaph' Nora Goldschmidt (Durham) `Cameo roles: Virgil in Ovidian biography' Fabio Stok (Rome) `The Vita Donati in the Middle Ages'