Lucan is the wild maverick among Latin epic poets. Sneered at for over a century for failing to conform to humanist canons of taste and propriety, in recent years his work has been gaining in reputation. Poetry and Civil War in Lucan's 'Bellum Civile' is a book founded on a genuine admiration for Lucan's unique, perverse, and spellbinding masterpiece. Above all, Dr Masters argues, the poem is obsessed with civil war, not only as the subject of the story it tells, but as a metaphor which determines the way that story is told. In these pages, he discusses in detail a number of selected episodes from the poem which illustrate this principle, and on this basis offers a fresh and challenging perspective on most of the important issues in Lucanian studies - Lucan's political stance and his attitude to Caesar, his iconoclastic relation to Virgil and the epic tradition, his distortion of history and geography, his inconsistency, his self-destructive narrative technique and, finally, the apparent incompleteness of his poem. This book is a major re-evaluation, provocative and persuasive, of a central figure in the history of Latin epic.
"It has been a long time since any work has so provoked my thoughts on Latin epic...I hope this is not the last published work of Jamie Masters." Martha A. Davis, Bryn Mawr Classical Review "...an absolutely brilliant reinterpretation of Lucan's poem that will surely restore Lucan to a position of positive prominence in the history of Latin literature and convince even the most recalcitrant of us to reread and reconsider our views of one long thought to be a maverick among Latin epic poets who seemingly did not conform to humanist canons of propriety and taste." Ex Libris