1st Edition

The Neronian Grotesque

By Scott Weiss Copyright 2024
    220 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    During the reign of Nero, Roman culture produced some of its most spectacular works of art and literature, and some of its strangest. This study explores these effects across textual and visual media in an integrated way.

    Weiss' analysis allows for appreciation of the shared strategies of composition, overlaps between literary and visual rhetoric, the role of context in shaping the reception of a work, and the authority of the reader/viewer to generate meaning. The volume offers an account of Roman visual-literary interactions in the mid-first century ᴄᴇ that considers these dynamics as informing broad cultural phenomena. The results reveal features pervasive in a literary and artistic culture invested in exploring the edges of expression.

    The Neronian Grotesque is a fascinating study on the literary and artistic production in the Neronian period, and has wider implications for anyone working in the field of Roman cultural history and visual studies more broadly.

    Introduction; Part 1: Fantasy and Reality; 1. In the Grotto; 2. Neronian Spaces; Part II: Hybridity; 3. Fear; 4. Laughter; Part III: Ornament; 5. Cosmos and Chaos; 6. Excess; Conclusion.


    Scott Weiss is a senior advancement writer at Washington University in St. Louis, where he previously held a postdoctoral teaching fellowship in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. He has taught at Knox College, St. Louis Community College and Stanford University, where he received his PhD. His research interests include Latin literature, Roman art and ancient slavery.