Emma Bremner, The University of Queensland

The dead are pervasive characters in Latin literature. They appear in dreams, give prophecies, haunt people and places, and offer a view of what to expect in the afterlife. Their prevalence in literature may even rival their prevalence in the living world, where burials and commemorative practices mark both the physical and ritual landscapes. This paper will explore the concept of cultural imagination as a means to study the dead in Latin literature, focussing on ‘ghost stories’. Cultural imagination, developed from memory studies and especially related to cultural memory, has been used in a number of different contexts with slightly different meanings. Here, it will refer to the ways people conceived of, talked about, and represented, a subject: the dead. The multiplicity of the concept allows for the exploration of various ways of imagining; ways that coexist, interact and sometimes contradict each other in the ancient material.