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The Ancient Emotion of Disgust$
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Donald Lateiner and Dimos Spatharas

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190604110

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190604110.001.0001

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Beauty in Suffering

Beauty in Suffering

Disgust in Nicander’s Theriaca

(p.141) 6 Beauty in Suffering
The Ancient Emotion of Disgust

Floris Overduin

Oxford University Press

In this chapter Nicander’s Theriaca (second century BCE), a Greek didactic epic poem on the wounds inflicted by snakes, scorpions, and the like, as well as the treatment of these wounds, is used as a test case for the study of disgust as an effective emotion in antique literature. On the basis of Korsmeyer’s approach to the aesthetics of disgust, emphasizing the pleasure that we derive from representations of repulsion, the chapter focuses on the ways in which Nicander manipulates recognizable literary tropes of the Alexandrians to elicit responses of disgust. The poet’s emphatically disgusting depiction of severe inflictions and concomitant bodily fluids can be considered a literary technique, applied in various manners, to achieve enargeia and captivate the reader.

Keywords:   Nicander, Theriaca, disgust, didactic, enargeia

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