Much has been written on the ‘implied reader’ in Lucretius’ DRN. From G. B. Conte’s textually constructed reader to recent work on Lucretian receptions, Lucretius’ readers or their textual condition have received substantial scholarly attention. What remains largely undiscussed – and what has left generation upon generation of the poem’s readers spellbound – is not so much other readers of the DRN, but the elusive ‘author’ himself. Jerome famously claimed that Lucretius wrote the DRN between intervals of insanity brought on by a love potion, and increasingly wild biographies of Lucretius crop up again and again in the reception traditions of the poem – from death-bed hallucinations brought on by his wicked wife to his beautiful but unresponsive male paramour. Taking some of these biographies as its point of inspiration, this chapter uses the concept of the ‘implied author’ to investigate what exactly it is about Lucretius’ text that inspired and inspires such imaginative, but arguably still textually grounded, portraits of its author.
Goldschmidt, N. (2020). Reading the 'Implied Author' in the De rerum natura. In D. O'Rourke (Ed.), Approaches to Lucretius (43-58). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108379854.004