Closure and the Book of Virgil

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Taking its initial inspiration from Lipking’s first foray into what is now known as ‘career criticism’ this chapter considers the ‘wheel of Virgil’ and the works of the poet’s ancient biographers in structuring structuring readers’ understanding of his three canonical works and of the connections between them. Rejecting the idea that the career pattern necessarily means that we must see Virgil as progressing towards ever greater acceptance of the political realities of his day, the chapter instead looks to different models of reading, in which attention to intratextual echoes prevents purely linear and teleological interpretations. It is proposed that the Book of Virgil demands a circular rather than a linear pattern of reading, and that the role played by the image of shade and darkness, and the word umbra in particular, is to unify the three works in rejecting the triumph of epic and empire
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Virgil
EditorsCharles Martindale, Fiachra Mac Gorain
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781316621349, 1316621340, 9781107170186
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameCambridge Companions to Literature
PublisherCambridge University Press


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