What does it mean to speak about solitude in the Roman world? This talk suggests that, in addition to the public and private spheres, the age of Virgil saw the spatial, ethical, and conceptual development of something newly prominent: the solitary sphere.
Situating ancient solitude as a form of reflexivity at the crossroads of medical, philosophical, social, and literary concerns, this talk challenges the binary model that has long been deployed to describe Roman life, and, by extension, Roman literature (i.e. public vs. private, otium (leisure) vs. negotium (business). Examples will be drawn from wall-painting, Virgil and Horace, as well as from a case-study of Propertius’ Cornelia elegy (4.11). Bentley’s Paradise Lost and Marvell’s ‘Hortus’ will, in conclusion, help point to implications of this research for literature of later periods.
No registration required for this seminar – all are welcome.