Ovid (Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World) by Katharina Volk

By Katharina Volk

This e-book presents a special and obtainable advent to the full works of Ovid. utilizing a thematic method, Volk lays out what we all know approximately Ovid's existence, provides the author's works inside their poetic genres, and discusses principal Ovidian themes.The first common advent to Ovid written in English in over twenty years, delivering the very most modern Ovidian scholarshipDiscusses the whole works of OvidAccessible writing and a thematic technique make this article perfect for a large audienceA present revival in Ovid makes this well timed variation hugely worthwhile

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42 ELEGY It is in the Fasti that Ovid feels (or pretends to feel) the greatest need to explain his choice of meter and presents himself as most in doubt about the wisdom of his decision. In a way, elegy was an obvious choice for writing about the origins of Roman religious festivals. After all, the Fasti models itself on Callimachus’ Aetia, famously composed in elegiacs. Still, using elegy to speak about a non-amatory subject and – what is more – a subject of a certain grandeur and patriotic significance contradicts the ideology of the genre as constructed by the love elegists.

However, this project comes to nothing when Cupid (Latin Amor, “Love”) appears and steals a metrical foot from Ovid’s second verse, thus turning it into a pentameter and reconfiguring LIFE 25 the poet’s epic into elegy (for a more detailed discussion of the elegiac meter, see the next chapter). The poet protests, arguing that Cupid has no jurisdiction over verse and pointing out that he himself lacks a subject matter for elegy: the meter is used for love poetry, but Ovid is not currently in love.

These are the questions this chapter attempts to answer. A Brief History of Elegy An elegy is a poem written in elegiac couplets, units of two lines, with the first being a dactylic hexameter, the second a dactylic pentameter (in the following schema, the symbol represents a long syllable, and a short syllable): Ovid. Katharina Volk © Katharina Volk 2010 36 ELEGY As is the case with nearly all Latin meters, the Romans took over the elegiac couplet from Greek poetry, where it was used for a variety of themes and purposes.

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