Reitz, Building in Words
‘Building in Words’ deals with the process of construction in Roman imperial literature from Vergil to the second century AD. The first part of the dissertation treats the ways in which representations of the construction of an edifice can be designed to influence the reader’s evaluation of it. The focus is first on major monuments in the city and strategies of memory-making in different media, and then on water engineering projects, with an emphasis on the moral aspects of human interventions in nature. The second part of the dissertation deals with the meta-literary function of representations of construction. It covers the relation between city building and text-construction in different poetic genres, the specific aesthetic of construction conceived in Statius’ Silvae, and uses of the myth of Amphion. The dissertation concludes with a look at deconstruction, both physical and literary. An epilogue deals with the reception and appropriation of Roman spectacles of engineering in Mussolini’s Rome.