Poetic Allusion and Poetic Embrace in Ovid and Virgil

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University of Michigan Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 226 pages
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Poetic Allusion and Poetic Embrace in Ovid and Virgil addresses one of the fundamental questions regarding any literary pursuit: How shall we read? Basing his methodology on the philosophy of Martin Buber, R. A. Smith advances the notion that poets who allude to their predecessors "embrace" the text of their models. Allusion need not, strictly speaking, be looked at as a process of poetry, but can be seen as a high regard for the texts that precede it in the literary tradition. Ancient authors kept their readers in mind as they worked, and they constructed their texts in such a way as to create a certain role or roles for their readers.
R. A. Smith considers the relationship of the two major writers of Augustan epic, Ovid and Virgil, and he offers a selective treatment of Ovidian allusion to Virgil: he comments on the insights about Ovid's reading of the Aeneid that these allusions suggest. He discusses such readership in terms of modern hermeneutics and examines the readership at certain junctures in their texts. Smith ranges widely in his treatment of these and other topics, offering valuable insights not only about the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses, but about virtually all of Virgil's and Ovid's poetry, and about questions of readership and poetic immortality as well. In conclusion, he argues that the texts of Ovid and Virgil construct their own readership, and he demonstrates this by comparing several textual examples of contemporary Pompeian friezes that themselves suggest a role for the viewer.
Throughout the book Smith's approach to familiar questions and familiar passages is unique, and he offers a fresh approach to poetic allusion and readership in general. Poetic Allusion and Poetic Embrace in Ovid and Virgil not only deals with the texts of the classical poets Ovid and Virgil but also encompasses broader issues of readership. It will be of interest to scholars and teachers of literature in general, as well as to classicists.
R. A. Smith is Assistant Professor of Classics, Baylor University.

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Contents

Views of Texts as Sources of Readership
25
Codified Readings
71
Chapter 3
137
Appendix of Texts Cited
197
Index Locorum 217
220
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