Roman Error: Classical Reception and the Problem of Rome's Flaws

ISBN : 9780198803034

Basil Dufallo
320 ページ
135 x 216 mm
Classical Presences

In the eyes of posterity, ancient Rome is deeply flawed. The list of censures is long and varied, from political corruption and the practice of slavery, to religious intolerance and sexual immorality, yet for centuries the Romans' "errors" have not only provoked opprobrium, but also inspired wayward and novel forms of thought and representation, themselves errant in the broad sense of the Latin verb. This volume is the first to examine this phenomenon in depth, treating examples from history, philosophy, literature, psychoanalysis, and art history, from antiquity to the present, to examine how the Romans' faults have become the basis for creative experimentation, for rejections of prevailing ideology, even for comedy and delight. In demonstrating that the reception of Rome's missteps and mistakes has been far more complex than simply denouncing them as an exemplum malum to be shunned and avoided, it argues compellingly that these "alternative" receptions are historically important and enduringly relevant in their own right. "Roman error" comes to signify both ancient misstep and something that we may commit when engaging with Roman antiquity, whereby reception may even be conceived as "error" of a kind: while the volume ably addresses popular fascination with a wide range of Roman vices, including violence, imperial domination, and decadence, it also asks us to consider what makes certain receptions matter, how they matter, and why.


List of Illustrations
List of Contributors
0 Basil Dufallo: Introduction
1 Caroline Vout: The Error of Roman Aesthetics
2 Marc Bizer: Whose Mistake? The Errors of Friendship in Cicero, La Boetie, and Montaigne
3 Craig Williams: Friends, Romans, Errors: Moments in the Reception of amicitia
4 Joy Connolly: Past Sovereignty: Roman Freedom for Modern Revolutionaries
5 Margaret Malamud: Receptions of Rome in Debates on Slavery in the USA
6 Catharine Edwards: The Romance of Roman Error: Encountering Antiquity in Hawthorne's The Marble Faun
7 Marco Formisano: Im Sinne der Antike : Masochism as Roman Error in Venus in Furs
8 Michele Lowrie and Barbara Vinken: Correcting Rome with Rome: Victor Hugo's Quatrevingt-treize
9 John Carlos Rowe: The Roman Aura in Henry James's Daisy Miller: A Study (1878)
10 Maria Wyke: The Pleasures and Punishments of Roman Error: Emperor Elagabalus at the Court of Early Cinema
11 Richard Fletcher: Psychic Life in the Eternal City: Julia Kristeva and the Narcissism of Rome


Basil Dufallo is Associate Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan. He is the author of two monographs - The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (The Ohio State University Press, 2007) and The Captor's Image: Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis (OUP, 2013) - as well as articles on Latin literature and Roman culture, and has also co-edited, with Peggy McCracken, the volume Dead Lovers: Erotic Bonds and the Study of Premodern Europe (University of Michigan Press, 2006).