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Virgil Society Meeting - Dr Elaine Sanderson (Liverpool) - Virgil and Lucan

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‘Illuminating Darkness: Exploring Virgilian Ambiguities in Lucan's Underworld’

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Dr Elaine Sanderson (University of Liverpool)

‘Illuminating Darkness: Exploring Virgilian Ambiguities in Lucan's Underworld’

Lucan's Bellum Civile has long been considered in opposition to Virgil's Aeneid the vision of Rome it explores. However, this analytical stance brushes over the ambiguities and contradictions within Virgil's epic and thus oversimplifies Lucan's engagement with one of his crucial epic forefathers. By considering the negotiation of Virgilian underworld intertexts in Lucan's underworld in Bellum Civile 6, this paper will show that, far from simply tearing down the work of his predecessor, Lucan in fact amplifies ambivalent and problematic undertones which lurk ever-present in Virgil's epic.

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