Lucan Reading Group

Author portrait taken from Bodleian Library, Ms. Canon Class Lat. 68
For the 2015-16 academic year, we have been holding an informal reading group that has read Lucan's Bellum civile alongside parts of the text's medieval reception. Our main focus has been on how the Bellum civile was taken up by medieval historians - from the twelfth century to the fifteenth - but we have also explored how Lucan was read in the schoolrooms, and how he was taken up by poets (particularly Dante, but with some Chaucer too). Please see below for our meeting schedule. If you have any questions, please contact Daniel Davies (daviesd @

October 19, 2015: Lucan and the Historians I
Bellum civile books 1 and 2
William of Malmesbury - extracts from Gesta regnum Anglorum
Background reading: Catherine A.M. Clarke, ‘Crossing the Rubicon: History, Authority and Civil War in Twelfth-Century England’ in War and Literature eds. Laura Ashe and Ian Patterson. (London, UK: Boydell and Brewer, 2014). 61-83

November 11: Lucan and the Historians II
Bellum civile book 3 and 4
Walter Bower - extracts from the Scotichonicon

January 21: Lucan and the Historians III
Bellum civile books 5 and 6
Thomas Walsingham - extracts from the Cronica maiora
Background reading: James G. Clark. 'Thomas Walsingham Reconsidered: Books and Learning at Late-Medieval St. Albans.' Speculum (77.3), 2002. 832-860.
Sylvia Federico. 'Two Troy Books: The Political Classicism of Walsingham's Ditis ditatus and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.' Studies in the Age of Chaucer (35), 2013. 137-177.

February 18: Lucan and the Schoolrooms
Bellum civile books 7 and 8
Alexander Neckam - A List of Textbooks from Sacerdos ad Altare
Background reading: Copeland, Rita. 'Naming, Knowing, and the Object of Language in Alexander Neckam's Grammar Curriculum'. The Journal of Medieval Latin (20), 2010. 38-57
Woods, Majorie Currie. 'Experiencing the Classics in Medieval Education'. In Rita Copeland, ed. The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature: Vol 1, 800-1558. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. 35-51.

March: Lucan and the Poets
Bellum civile books 9 and 10
Arnulf of OrlĂ©ans - Gloss on Lucan's Pharsalia (from Minnis et al. Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism c.1100-c.1375)
Dante - selections from the Commedia and Convivio
Winthrop Wetherbee. 'Lucan and Vergil: Judgment and Poetic Authority in Dis' from The Ancient Flame: Dante and the Poets. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008. 61-96.

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