Mr Matthew Johncock

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Research interests

My PhD thesis, on 'Metaphor and Argumentation in Lucretius', argues that Lucretius uses a limited number of coherent metaphors to explain individual laws and processes of his science. Part 1 considers how Lucretius introduces these metaphors in his prologue, and in doing so offers explanations for apparently problematic elements of this section of the epic. Part 2 explores how Lucretius develops these metaphors individually throughout the epic, expanding them to explain multiple aspects of the individual laws and processes they represent. Part 3 considers how the metaphors combine to explain more complex processes (including his scheme of creation and destruction, his theory of sensation, the relationship between the body and soul, and otherwise arcane meteorological and terrestrial phenomena), offering multiple new readings and expanding our understanding of Lucretius' explanatory approach. My thesis highlights greater coherence in Lucretius' application of imagery to explain his science, and argues that his argumentation as a whole is more consistent and well-crafted than previously thought.

Research interests (continued)

In addition to my work on Lucretius, I have wider research interest in rhetoric and argumentation. I have co-edited 'Emotion and Persuasion in Classical Antiquity' (with Ed Sanders), in which my paper 'He was Moved, But...: Failed Appeals to the Emotions in Ovid's Metamorphoses' appears. More widely I am interested in metaphor theory, in particular the use of metaphor for persuasive purposes in technical works, both Classical and modern.

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