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Rome and Home: The Cultural Uses of Rome in Early Modern English Literature (2 May 2014)
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Early Modern Literary Studies
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Ancient Rome had a pervasive hold over the early modern imagination and its influence can be discerned in a variety of sources, discourses, and practices during the period. Episodes from Roman history provided the inspiration for numerous plays and narrative poems, as well as offering an effective means of interrogating such political and philosophical positions as republicanism, absolutism and stoicism. Roman history also provided a host of good and bad exemplary figures, as well as highlighting the dangers of civil war and political factionalism. Roman authors like Seneca, Juvenal, Horace, and Terence also had a considerable influence on the development of various literary genres during the period and many historical and political works were influenced by both the style and content of such commentators as Cicero and Tacitus. The influence of ancient Rome also had a bearing upon English national identity. The myth of the translatio imperii, as promulgated in the histories of Geoffrey of Monmouth, was often appropriated in propaganda as a means of legitimising England’s imperial ambitions. James I also set out to refashion himself as an Augustan ruler whose iconography owed much to the resonance of imperial Rome.
This special issue of Early Modern Literary Studies (EMLS) will explore the influence of ancient Rome upon the literature and culture of early modern England and the related issues it provoked. We therefore welcome proposals for articles that consider any aspect of this subject; topics for discussion may include (but are not restricted to):
• Roman history as a narrative source in early modern drama, satire, and narrative poetry.