Elaine Sanderson

Postgraduate Research Student



Elaine was awarded a BA and then an MA in Classics whilst studying at the University of Exeter.

Research Interests 

Thesis Title

"Lucanian Transformations: Civil War, Necromancy, and the Resurrection of Rome"

Elaine's thesis proposes that Lucan’s epic poem, the Bellum Civile, is primarily concerned with literary and political transformation. The epic is filled with transformatory processes, many of which are concentrated in a fantastical necromancy, which I argue represents a thematic microcosm for the epic’s main narrative. Since Lucan uses bodily transformations to negotiate authorial poetics and the motif of the Roman state, the corpse within this necromancy may be read as the resurrected Roman state. Using aspects of models such as Bakhtin’s ‘Threshold Chronotope’ and Foucault’s ‘Crisis Heterotopia’, I aim to show that the corpse’s resurrection is loaded with metapoetic and political connotations which indicate a transformative lage-scale ‘rite of passage’ which may be mapped onto Lucan’s wider narrative. Such a reading allows us to perceive the Bellum Civile as an innovative epic of Rome’s metamorphosis from Republic to Empire, rather than an epic of decline.

Elaine's wider research aims include studies of Flavian epic poetry, Classical receptions in opera, Sophoclean tragedies, Classical drama and literature. 

Research Funding 

Jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (AHRC and NWCDTP).