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Spartacus: Film and History

ISBN: 978-0-470-77726-8
280 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Spartacus: Film and History (0470777265) cover image
This is the first book systematically to analyze Kirk Douglas’ and Stanley Kubrick’s depiction of the slave revolt led by Spartacus from different historical, political, and cinematic perspectives.
  • Examines the film’s use of ancient sources, the ancient historical contexts, the political significance of the film, the history of its censorship and restoration, and its place in film history.
  • Includes the most important passages from ancient authors’ reports of the slave revolt in translation.
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List of Plates.

Notes on Contributors.

Introduction (Martin M. Winkler, George Mason University).

1. Who Killed the Legend of Spartacus? Production, Censorship, and Reconstruction of Stanley Kubrick’s Epic Film (Duncan L. Cooper, Independent scholar).

2. Dalton Trumbo vs. Stanley Kubrick: The Historical Meaning of Spartacus (Duncan L. Cooper, Independent scholar).

3. Spartacus, Exodus, and Dalton Trumbo: Managing Ideologies of War (Frederick Ahl, Cornell University).

4. Spartacus: History and Histrionics (Allen M. Ward, University of Connecticut).

5. Spartacus, Rebel Against Rome (C. A. Robinson, Jr).

6. Training + Tactics = Roman Battle Success: From Spartacus: The Illustrated Story of the Motion Picture Production.

7. The Character of Marcus Licinius Crassus (W. Jeffrey Tatum, Florida State University).

8. Roman Slavery and the Class Divide: Why Spartacus Lost (Michael Parenti).

9. The Holy Cause of Freedom: American Ideals in Spartacus (Martin M. Winkler, George Mason University).

10. Spartacus and the Stoic Ideal of Death (Francisco Javier Tovar Paz, University of Extremadura).

11. “Culturally Significant and Not Just Simple Entertainment”: History and the Marketing of Spartacus (Martin M. Winkler, George Mason University).

The Principal Ancient Sources on Spartacus.

1. Plutarch, Crassus 8–11 and Pompey 21.1–2.

2. Appian, The Civil Wars 1.14.111 and 116–121.1.

3. Sallust, The Histories 3.96 and 98 (M) = 3.64 and 66 (McG).

4. Livy, Periochae 95–97.

5. Velleius Paterculus, Compendium of Roman History 2.30.5–6.

6. Florus, Epitome of Roman History 2.8 (3.20).

7. Frontinus, Strategies 1.5.20–22 and 7.6, 2.4.7 and 5.34.

8. Orosius, History against the Pagans 5.24.1–8 and 18–19.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Martin M. Winkler is Professor of Classics at George Mason University. Most recently he has edited the essay collections Troy: From Homer’s Iliad to Hollywood Epic (Blackwell, 2006), Gladiator: Film and History (Blackwell, 2004), and Classical Myth and Culture in the Cinema (2001).
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  • The first book systematically to analyze Kirk Douglas’s and Stanley Kubrick’s depiction of the slave revolt led by Spartacus.
  • Examines the film’s use of ancient sources, the ancient historical contexts, the political significance of the film, the history of its censorship and restoration, and its place in film history.
  • Includes the most important passages from ancient authors’ reports of the slave revolt in translation.
See More
 

“Both the range of positions and also the excellent bibliographic notes (especially from Winkler and Ward) provide a fine basis for any student to develop their knowledge of the original events, the making of the movie, or the political and cultural context of the time.” (Art & Archaeology, 2010)

“Like [Winkler’s] volumes on Gladiator and Troy, [Spartacus] has fascinating information and impassioned arguments.” (Cineaste, Spring 2009)

“The 11 essays by eight authors examine in depth the iconic classic from a variety of fascinating historical, political, and cinematic perspectives.” (Choice)

"I thought i was becoming a little bored with Spartacus until I read this book ... it made me remember why I found the subject so fascinating in the first place. This volume is invaluable for everyone interested in epic movies, the Roman Republic, the Cold War or the process of the appropriation of rebels." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

“Winkler’s Spartacus: Film and History breaks new ground … [an] invaluable volume.” (New England Classical Journal)

“An outstanding and innovative volume that will be very useful to teachers and students of Classics and Cinema.” (Classical Outlook)

"As a study of a particular age and country in cinema history, the book does indeed make a contribution." (Scholia Reviews)

"These essays - lively and learned - give new depth to the greatest gladiator film of all time. Historians and film scholars pool their talents to show afresh how Kubrick’s Spartacus was made and what this ancient slave revolt means to us today."
Natalie Zemon Davis, author of The Return of Martin Guerre and Slaves on Screen

"Nobody teaching a classics film course and no classics library can afford to be without this book. It is a major contribution to our understanding of one of the most popular and important films on the ancient world. Packed with perceptive analysis and fascinating facts, this book approaches Spartacus from a wide variety of perspectives, and there is admirable depth as well as breadth."
Paul Murgatroyd, McMaster University

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