Eromenos (2011): Melanie McDonald


A novel of Antinous and Hadrian

I’m really having difficulty figuring out what I think of this book. It raises so many interesting questions in light of my recent reread of Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian. For one, it gives Antinous a voice of his own, which is fitting considering that his fictional existence, like his memory, has been dominated by Hadrian’s idealised gaze. On the other hand the tone of the writing is uneven and in many places it’s weighed down by a desire to show how much research has gone into this depiction of the Roman world. It is a striking, unsettling, flawed book but the way that it acknowledges and fences with Yourcenar’s all-conquering vision of these historical figures is quite fascinating.

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