Synopses & Reviews
Dynamic Reading examines the reception history of Epicurean philosophy through a series of eleven case studies, which range chronologically from the latter days of the Roman Republic to late twentieth-century France and America. Rather than attempting to separate an original Epicureanism from its later readings and misreadings, this collection studies the philosophy together with its subsequent reception, focusing in particular on the ways in which it has provided terms and conceptual tools for defining how we read and respond to texts, artwork, and the world more generally. Whether it helps us to characterize the "swerviness" of literary influence, the transformative effects of philosophy, or the "events" that shape history, Epicureanism has been a dynamic force in the intellectual history of the West. These essays seek to capture some of that dynamism.
"Dynamic Reading is an exciting experiment in perspective. Eleven essays by a range of distinguished scholars come at the Epicurean inheritance from radically different angles, from an ancient Roman who starved himself to death to Mark Rothko, from a 'whore's doctrine of pleasure' to the philosophy of Giles Deleuze. The volume bears witness to the haunting ambiguity of Epicureanism and to its continuing vitality."--Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
"This volume represents reception criticism at its best. The contributors combine an expert knowledge of Lucretius and Epicureanism with a thorough mastery of the later texts and contexts in which Epicureanism resurfaced, from a near contemporary of Lucretius on down to the Renaissance and early modern periods, Kant and his contemporaries, and recent thinkers like Foucault, Deleuze, and Leo Strauss. The essays are informed by modern literary theory, and at the same time bring to light little known areas of Epicurean influence, such as digressive notes in an early commentary on Lucretius and unsuspected echoes of Epicureanism in Hölderlin and Mark Rothko. There is something new on virtually every page."-David Konstan, author of Before Forgiveness: The Origins of a Moral Idea
About the Author
is Assistant Professor of Classics at Princeton University.
W. H. Shearin is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Miami.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Brooke Holmes
and W. H. Shearin
1. Haunting Nepos: Atticus and the Performance of Roman Epicurean Death, W. H. Shearin
2. Epicurus's Mistresses: Pleasure, Authority, and Gender in the Reception of the Kuriai Doxai in the Second Sophistic, Richard Fletcher
3. Reading for Pleasure: Disaster and Digression in the First Renaissance Commentary on Lucretius, Gerard Passannante
4. Discourse ex nihilo: Epicurus and Lucretius in Sixteenth-century England, Adam Rzepka
5. Engendering Modernity: Epicurean Women from Lucretius to Rousseau, Natania Meeker
6. Oscillate and Reflect: La Mettrie, Materialist Physiology, and the Revival of the Epicurean Canonic, James Steintrager
7. Sensual Idealism: The Spirit of Epicurus and the Politics of Finitude in Kant and Hölderlin, Anthony Adler
8. The Sublime, Today?, Glenn Most
9. From Heresy to Nature: Leo Strauss's History of Modern Epicureanism, Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft
10. Epicurean Presences in Foucault's The Hermeneutics of the Subject, Alain Gigandet
11. Deleuze, Lucretius, and the Simulacrum of Naturalism, Brooke Holmes