This book explores the much maligned and misunderstood genre of declamation. Instead of a bastard rhetoric, declamation should be seen as a venue within which the rhetoric of the legitimate self is constructed. These fictions of the self are uncannily real, and these stagey dramas are in fact rehearsals for the serious play of Roman identity. Critics of declamation find themselves recapitulating the very logic of the genre they are refusing. When declamation is read in the light of the contemporary theory of the subject a wholly different picture emerges: this is a canny game played with and within the rhetoric of the self. This book makes broad claims for what is often seen as a narrow topic. An appendix includes a fresh translation and brief discussion of a sample of surviving examples of declamation.

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