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Nox Philologiae: Aulus Gellius and the Fantasy of the Roman Library

In this strikingly original and playful work, Erik Gunderson examines questions of reading the past—an enterprise extending from antiquity to the present day. This esoteric and original study focuses on the equally singular work of Aulus Gellius—a Roman author and grammarian (ca. 120-180 A.D.), possibly of African origin. Gellius’s only work, the twenty-volume Noctes Atticae,is an exploding, sometimes seemingly random text-cum-diary ...

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Staging Masculinity: The Rhetoric of Performance in the Roman

Performance was one of the five canonical branches of oratory in the classical period, but it presents special problems that distinguish it from concerns such as composition and memory. The ancient performer was supposed to be a "good man" and his performance a manifestation of an authentic and authoritative manliness. But how can the orator be distinguished from a mere actor? And what is the proper role for the body, given that it i...

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The Sublime Seneca: Ethics, Literature, Metaphysics

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...