By Mairéad McAuley
Within the conservative and aggressive society of old Rome, the place the legislations of the daddy (patria potestas) was once supposedly absolute, motherhood took on complicated aesthetic, ethical, and political meanings in elite literary discourse. Reproducing Rome is a examine of the illustration of maternity within the Roman literature of the 1st century CE, a interval of excessive social upheaval and reorganization as Rome used to be remodeled from a Republic to a kind of hereditary monarchy less than the emperor Augustus.
Through a chain of shut readings of works through Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, and Statius, the amount scrutinizes the gender dynamics that permeate those historical authors' language, imagery, and narrative buildings. Analysing those texts 'through and for the maternal', McAuley considers to what measure their representations of motherhood replicate, build, or subvert Roman beliefs of, and anxieties approximately, kin, gender roles, and replica. the quantity additionally explores the level to which those representations distort or displace issues approximately fatherhood or different family of strength in Augustan and post-Augustan Rome. protecting the traditional literary and ancient context in view, the amount conducts a discussion among those historical male authors and glossy feminist theorists-from Klein to Irigaray, Kristeva to Cavarero-to give some thought to the connection among motherhood as image and the way a maternal subjectivity is advised, constructed, or suppressed through the authors. Readers are inspired to think about the issues and chances of studying the maternal in those historic texts, and to discover the original website the maternal occupies in pre-modern discourses underpinning Western culture.
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Additional info for Reproducing Rome : motherhood in Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, and Statius
32 It is impossible to speak about maternity in feminist theory and not encounter Julia Kristeva’s inﬂuential theories about maternity, subjectivity, and language. The development of her thinking about maternity is complex, but her most inﬂuential and well-known concept is the semiotic, a presymbolic stage linked to the pre-Oedipal relationship between maternal body and infant, and wordless, bodily modes of expression such as tears, milk, and baby babble, before the child’s coherent self has been established by entry into the symbolic realm of culture and social meaning.
In one of her most important and inﬂuential pieces, ‘Motherhood according to Giovanni Bellini’, she writes: Cells fuse, split, and proliferate; volumes grow, tissues stretch, and body ﬂuids change rhythm, speeding up and slowing down. Within the body, growing as a graft, indomitable, there is an other. And no one is present, within that simultaneously dual and alien space, to signify what is going on. 34 She seeks this as profoundly linked, however, to the creative processes of art and poetry: The language of art, too follows .
1. 59 There is excellent discussion of this Ennius fragment in Milnor (2005) 150; also Edwards (1993) 20. Introduction 29 Lucius Junius Brutus, who lived in Rome in early times, when the city was still ruled by kings. Brutus’ mother, Tarquinia, was the sister of the king, Tarquinius. The king sent his sons, along with his nephew, to consult the oracle at Delphi. The king’s sons decide to ask the oracle which of them would become king of Rome. 10). 12). Brutus goes on to avenge famously his chaste and virtuous kinswoman, the matrona Lucretia, raped in the sanctity of her own home by Sextus Tarquin; here violated matronal honour epitomates a violated or raped body politic and the end result is that Brutus overthrows the monarchy and establishes a republic, fulﬁlling the maternal oracle in the process.