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Chapter Summary

The front matter section of this book The Rhetoric of Explanation in Lucretius' De rerum natura contains the table of contents, preface, acknowledgments and the list of abbreviations. The majority of modern interpreters consider the rhetorical character of the poem to be one of its problematic features, comparable to Lucretius' heretic treatment of Epicurean physics in the form of an epic poem. Alleged incompatibility of Epicurus' philosophy with rhetoric has led modern scholars to isolate rhetorical elements in the poem and regard them as non-Epicurean, accessory features. The book approaches the question from a different point of view, based on a wider understanding of the term rhetoric. Its core consists of a fresh analysis of the process of the composition of De rerum natura that is intended to show that Lucretius in fact intensified rhetorical elements already present in the work of Epicurus.

Keywords: De rerum natura; epic poem; Epicurus; Lucretius; rhetorical elements



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