Article Title

Lucan and the Self-Incised Voids of Julius Caesar


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Several students of Shakespeare have maintained that Julius Caesar and other earlier plays of Shakespeare echo language and various details from Marcus Annaeus Lucanus' Pharsalia, otherwise known as De Bello Civili (Civil War).1 Substantial acceptance has been accorded the claim that certain omens and portentous events in Julius Caesar derive from Lucan. In a previous issue of this journal, I sought to link the play' s imagery of lightning, blood, and snakes with Lucan as well. There exist other similar but less easily defended claims, as in the instance of Antony when he summons up vengeful Ate. Another and larger claim is J. Dover Wilson's contention that Caesar himself is demonic in the same way that the Dictator in Lucan is.2 More recently, Emrys Jones has argued on behalf of a Lucanic inspiration for Cassius' sense of his future fame ("How many ages hence/ Shall this our lofty scene be acted over" [IIl.ii.111-12]) .3

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