Ohio Wesleyan Professor Explores Lucan’s ‘Pharsalia’ in New Book

Lee Fratantuono’s ‘Madness Triumphant’ deemed ‘an Interpretive Gift’

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University faculty member Lee Fratantuono’s new, comprehensive analysis of Lucan’s epic poem “Pharsalia” is being praised as “an interpretive gift; an erudite but friendly companion” to Lucan’s haunting account of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey in ancient Rome.

Fratantuono, Ph.D., is an associate professor of classics and the Whitlock Professor of Latin at Ohio Wesleyan, where he has taught since 2005. His 494-page book, “Madness Triumphant: A Reading of Lucan’s Pharsalia,” was published in June by Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.

According to the publisher: The book “offers the most detailed and comprehensive analysis of Lucan’s epic poem. … Fratantuono considers the Pharsalia as an epic investigation of the nature of fury and madness in Rome, this time during the increasing insanity of Nero’s reign.”

In reviewing “Madness Triumphant,” Holly Haynes, Ph.D., an associate professor of classical studies at The College of New Jersey, states: “Fratantuono gives a masterful reading of Lucan through close textual analysis. With great sensitivity to the poetics of tradition he leads the reader step by step through the minefields of Lucan’s poetry, uncovering a whole (and dark) philosophy of Roman imperial government. To experienced and non-experienced readers of Lucan alike this book is an interpretive gift; an erudite but friendly companion on the perilous journey Lucan enjoins.”

Among Fratantuono’s other books are “Madness Unchained: A Reading of Virgil’s Aeneid” (2007) and “Madness: Transformed: A Reading of Ovid’s Metamorphoses” (2011). He also is the author of “A Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid XI” (2009), and some two dozen articles on Latin poetry. He currently is co-editing the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell “Companion to Latin Epic,” 14-96 C.E., with Ohio Wesleyan assistant classics professor Caroline Stark, Ph.D.


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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