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Staging Masculinity: The Rhetoric of Performance in the Roman World (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism) Hardcover – November 8, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (November 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472111396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472111398
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,539,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The author of this text has done his homework and seems to be adept with classical languages, postmodernism and psychoanalytic thought. Yet, there is just something disappointing about this work that purportedly advances our understanding of the role that the "good man" (vir bonus) plays in staging masculinity by means of elocutionary exercises.
Gunderson says that the book is "about rhetoric" in his preface. While it certainly appeals to classical texts and does (as promised by the author) contain "numerous examples of anaphora, asyndeton, and alliteration," it seems to be more of a dissertation on psychodynamism than rhetorical devices or tropes.
Gunderson aptly demonstrates, I think, what a "real man" (a vir) was in ancient Roman society. He also shows the part that rhetoric played in this important socializing process. From Quintilian's Institutio oratoria, we read: "I am training the consummate orator, a figure whose existence is predicated on his being a good man (vir bonus). Accordingly I demand of him not only an exceptional speaking ability, but all of the moral and spiritual virtues" (1. pr. 9).
The negative aspect of this book, in my opinion, is that it does not illuminate (for the most part) the texts produced by the ancient rhetoricians, but rather reductionistically shoehorns the ancient classical writings into the "footwear" of psychodynamism. The constant sexualizing of that which was probably not intended to be sexual gets old fast. Moreover, the crass language used by Gunderson (repeatedly) seems unnecessary in the context of the study with the exception of his discussion of Aristophanes, which still could have been handled differently. Nevertheless, the foremost reason this books gets two stars from me is its failure to provide hardly any profitable material with respect to rhetoric or classical texts. I cannot in good conscience or with scholarly integrity recommend this sad gallimaufry.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marco Stavros on March 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Though it is clearly well researched, the book falls short in numerous ways. It is repetitve and fails to capture the essence of the orators within.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book was not only extremely interesting. but also very infomative. Well worth reading.
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Staging Masculinity: The Rhetoric of Performance in the Roman World (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
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