This work inquires into the impact of dissident sensibilities on the writings of the major Neronian authors. It offers a detailed and innovative analysis of essays, poetry and fiction written by Seneca, Lucan and Petronius, and illuminates their psychological and moral anguish.
The study is intended as a companion volume to Vasily Rudich's earlier work Political Dissidence under Nero: The Price of Dissimulation, where he discussed the ways in which 'dissident sensibilities' of the Neronians affected their actual behaviour. Dissidence and Literature under Nero extends this analysis to show how the same sensibilities became manifest in the texts written by the Neronian authors. It explores the pressures on authors under a repressive regime, who strive to maintain their artistic integrity.
Thus the argument of this book can be seen as a comparison between the predicament of a Neronian dissident and the situation of the postmodern intellectual. It will interest professional classicists and the wider audience concerned with the ongoing debate on the benefits and perils of rhetorical discourse.
'This is a great book. In a non-sentimental way, R. draws out the stature of Seneca, Lucan and Petronius admirably. Here are true riches. It has been a privilege to read and review it.' - Michael Northey, JACT Review
'Dissidence and Literature combines considerable erudition and scholarship, detailed references to the historical background and close attention to psychology and circumstance.' - Times Literary Supplement
'It is commendable of Vasily Rudich's new analysis of three Roman authors who met a sorry end under the unsavory Nero (emperor 54-68 AD) that it breaks from this dual bind in combining politics, psychology, and stylistics in its analysis of the writings of our ill-fated trio - Seneca, Lucan and Petronius. Dissidence and Literature under Nero combines considerable erudition and scholarship, detailed references to the historical background and close attention to psychology and circumstance.' - Shadi Bartsch, Times Literary Supplement