Book Reviews Caesar: A Life in Western Culture. By maria wyke. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. 288 pp. $25.00 (cloth). With this splendid book, Maria Wyke solidifies her standing as our leading student of the European and, more generally, of the Western reception of Julius Caesar. Here she has written what she describes as a "metabiography" of Caesar, an account of selected episodes in his life viewed in terms of their subsequent appropriation, in different media and at different historical periods and by different cultures, within the Western tradition--often for markedly different purposes. She tends to begin her analysis with Caesar himself, who was nothing short of artful in his representation of his own actions ("Julius Caesar himself lived and wrote his life with a view to its future reception," p. 20), turning swiftly to other ancient interpretations of the same events, which are followed by examinations of later adaptations in quite different cultural registers. In the shifting meanings that different individuals, in varying periods, have invented or expressed in their reactions to Caesar, Wyke isolates important elements from their contemporary ideas and realities, illustrating the versatility of Caesar's resonance and striving, in the process, to shed
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Nov 6, 2010
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