Remembering Liberty: Cato the Younger in Lucan, Dante, and Addison
April 13, 2010, from 4:30-5:30 pm
The Honors College Commons
Cato the incorruptible, the Republican martyr, the Stoic sage, the enemy of Caesar.... Dr. Francesca Behr discussed the curious life and literary afterlife of this quintessential Roman to a crowd of Honors students. After a short account of Cato's life and assessments of his character from contemporary ancient sources, Behr reviewed how Cato was later depicted by the Roman poet Lucan in his Civil War in the age of Nero, by Dante in his Divine Comedy, and Joseph Addison in his widely-read tragedy Cato (1712). Behr also discussed George Washington's admiration for Cato, and his staging of Addison's Cato during the harsh winter at Valley Forge.
Francesca D'Alessandro Behr, recently named the winner of the 2010 Ross M. Lence Teaching Award, is Associate Professor of Classics and Italian Studies at the University of Houston. Her published work includes the book Feeling History: Lucan, Stoicism, and the Poetics of Passion (Ohio State UP 2007) and articles on Virgil, Roman satire, reception studies, and Italian Renaissance Epic.