Memory in Vergil's Aeneid: Creating the Past


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Written by
Aaron M. Seider
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Jul, 2017

About Memory in Vergil's Aeneid: Creating the Past

Tracing the path from Troy's destruction to Rome's foundation, the Aeneid explores the transition between past and future. As the Trojans struggle to found a new city and the narrator sings of his audience's often-painful history, memory becomes intertwined with a crucial leitmotif: the challenge of being part of a group that survives violence and destruction only to face the daunting task of remembering what was lost.
This book offers a reading of the epic that engages with critical work on memory and questions the prevailing view that Aeneas must forget his disastrous history in order to escape from a cycle of loss. Considering crucial scenes such as Aeneas' reconstruction of Celaeno's prophecy and his slaying of Turnus, this book demonstrates that memory in the Aeneid is a reconstructive and dynamic process, one that offers a social and narrative mechanism for integrating a traumatic past with an uncertain future.

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