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Title: The Challenge of Epic: Allusive Engagement in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus
Author: Shorrock, Robert
Publisher: Brill; Publication Date: 2001
Hardcover; ISBN: 9789004117952
Volumes: 1; Pages: viii, 248
List Price in Cloth: $160.00 Our price: $135.99
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Nonnus once vied with Homer for popularity; today his Dionysiaca languishes in obscurity. The Challenge of Epic offers a literary critical rehabilitation of Nonnus' fifth-century A.D. poem. It argues that modern neglect stems from a failure to appreciate the central position of allusion in late-antique poetry.Attention first focuses on intertextual allusion. It is argued that the poet draws on a plethora of allusions to the cycle of Greek mythology in order to imbue his specific narrative with a universal significance. Focus then shifts to metapoetic allusion: the way in which Nonnus alludes self-consciously to the process of writing, and develops parallels between himself and his subject, Dionysus.Through an appreciation of Nonnus' alllusive strategies, the modern reader can again engage with the mind-bending challenge of the Dionysiaca.