Imperial Projections: Ancient Rome in Modern Popular Culture / Edition 1

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Overview

The phenomenal success of the recent film Gladiator ensures that ancient Rome will continue to inspire moviemakers and attract audiences as it has done since the dawn of cinema. Indeed, the creators of popular culture have so often appropriated elements of Roman history and society for films and television programs, novels and comic books, advertising and computer games that most people's knowledge of ancient Rome derives from these representations. In Imperial Projections, scholars from a variety of fields—classics, history, film studies, and gender theory—provide an interdisciplinary look at how ancient Rome has been depicted in the media and what these varied portrayals tell us about contemporary culture.

The essays in Imperial Projections examine such films as Spartacus, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, and The Fall of the Roman Empire; the acclaimed BBC television series I, Claudius; the Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; and the Roman-themed Las Vegas casino Caesars Palace, combining ancient history and cutting-edge cultural studies in a challenging, engaging, and informative volume.

Contributors: Nicholas J. Cull, William Fitzgerald, Alison Futrell, Sandra R. Joshel, Margaret Malamud, Martha Malamud, Donald T. McGuire, Jr., Martin M. Winkler, and Maria Wyke

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
An excellent collection of essays... Among the best are Nicholas J. Cull's exploration of Carry On Cleo and its brilliant send up of the epic Cleopatra... and Margaret Malamud's careful look at the Broadway and cinema version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum... The outstanding contribution to Imperial Projections is, however, Sandra Joshel's essay on I, Claudius.

— Mary Beard

Key Reporter
This volume aids and abets a reader's own meditation on the empires of Britain, America, and Hollywood, and the ways in which the Roman empire has been an abiding vehicle for simultaneously manifesting, indulging, interrogating, and critiquing the ambitions of these more recent empires.

— Rebecca Resinski

Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Imperial Projections is a terrific book. It successfully merges modern cultural critique with sound classical scholarship, and does so in a manner that is enjoyable to read and intellectually challenging.

— Kirk Ormand

New England Classical Journal
This engaging volume capitalizes on contemporary interest in the decadence and excess that characterizes Rome in the modern, as indeed in the ancient, imagination... Read it and enjoy!

— A. M. Keith

Scope: Online Journal of Film Studies

An excellent example of what might be called the allegorical mode of cinematic interpretation, in which movies are understood as texts about the cultures that make and consume them.

Classical Outlook
Imperial Projections provides some intriguing new perspectives on such pop culture representations of Rome and the Romans.

— Catherine Colegrove

History: Reviews of New Books
An insightful exploration into how Imperial Rome, in its various popular guises, has provided a malleable and commercially viable mythos that has found special receptivity in modern America.

— Amy Henderson

Scope: Online Journal of Film Studies
An excellent example of what might be called the allegorical mode of cinematic interpretation, in which movies are understood as texts about the cultures that make and consume them.
Times Literary Supplement - Mary Beard

An excellent collection of essays... Among the best are Nicholas J. Cull's exploration of Carry On Cleo and its brilliant send up of the epic Cleopatra... and Margaret Malamud's careful look at the Broadway and cinema version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum... The outstanding contribution to Imperial Projections is, however, Sandra Joshel's essay on I, Claudius.

Key Reporter - Rebecca Resinski

This volume aids and abets a reader's own meditation on the empires of Britain, America, and Hollywood, and the ways in which the Roman empire has been an abiding vehicle for simultaneously manifesting, indulging, interrogating, and critiquing the ambitions of these more recent empires.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review - Kirk Ormand

Imperial Projections is a terrific book. It successfully merges modern cultural critique with sound classical scholarship, and does so in a manner that is enjoyable to read and intellectually challenging.

History: Reviews of New Books - Amy Henderson

An insightful exploration into how Imperial Rome, in its various popular guises, has provided a malleable and commercially viable mythos that has found special receptivity in modern America.

New England Classical Journal - A. M. Keith

This engaging volume capitalizes on contemporary interest in the decadence and excess that characterizes Rome in the modern, as indeed in the ancient, imagination... Read it and enjoy!

Classical Outlook - Catherine Colegrove

Imperial Projections provides some intriguing new perspectives on such pop culture representations of Rome and the Romans.

Peter Bondanella
This book makes an important contribution to popular culture and classics at the same time. It seems to me that this is cultural studies at its best, most informative, and most original. This is a very serious, yet entertaining and provocative book.
Booknews
Eight papers explore the way that the Roman Empire has been represented in American and British film, theatre, and television. The overarching theme of the papers is on how the mutability of images of Rome have been appropriated by different groups for varied ends, but most especially for debates about politics and sexuality. Among the show studied are , , , , and . Also included is one essay exploring the meanings presented by the Las Vegas casino Caesars Palace. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801882685
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service
  • Publication date: 8/9/2005
  • Series: Arethusa Books
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 986,886
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra R. Joshel is a professor of history at the University of Washington. Margaret Malamud is an associate professor of history at New Mexico State University. Donald T. McGuire, Jr. is Director of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisement Services and adjunct assistant professor of Classics at SUNY, Buffalo.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents:

Introduction by Sandra R. Joshel, Margaret Malamud, and Maria Wyke

Chapter 1: "Oppositions, Anxieties, and Ambiguities in the Toga Movie" by William Fitzgerald

Chapter 2: "The Roman Empire in American Cinema after 1945" by Martin Winkler

Chapter 3: "Seeing Red: Spartacus as Domestic Economist" by Alison Futrell

Chapter 4: "I, Claudius: Projection and Imperial Soap Opera" by Sandra R. Joshel

Chapter 5: "'Infamy! Infamy! They've All Got It in for Me!': Carry on Cleo and the British Camp Comedies of Ancient Rome" by Nicholas Cull

Chapter 6: "Brooklyn on the Tiber: Roman Comedy on Broadway and in Film" by Margaret Malamud

Chapter 7: "Serial Romans" by Martha Malamud

Chapter 8: "Shared Sexualities: Roman Soldiers, Derek Jarman's Sebastiane, and British Homosexuality" by Maria Wyke

Chapter 9: "Living Like Romans in Las Vegas: The Roman World at Caesar's Palace" by Margaret Malamud and Donald T. McGuire, Jr.

Bibliography

Filmography

Johns Hopkins University Press

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