The Reader And The Poet: The Transformation Of Latin Poetry In The Fourth Century
In Late Antiquity, the figure of the reader came to play a central role in mediating the presence of the text. And, within the tradition of Latin poetry, the fourth century marks a turn towards writing that privileges the reader's involvement in shaping the meaning of the text. Therefore, this dissertation addresses a set of problems related to the aesthetics of Late Antiquity, the reception of Classical Roman poetry, and the relation between author and reader. I begin with a chapter on contemporary methods of reading, in order to show the ways in which Late Antique authors draw attention to their own interpretations of authoritative texts and to their own creation of supplemental meaning. I show how such disparate authors as Jerome, Augustine, Servius, and Macrobius each privileges the work of secondary authorship. The second chapter considers the use of prefaces in Late Antique poetry. The imposition of paratextual borders dramatized the reader's involvement in the text. In the third chapter, I apply Umberto Eco's idea of the open text to the figural poetry of Optatianus Porphyrius, to the Psychomachia of Prudentius, and to the centos from Late Antiquity. These novel forms of poetry are all structurally dependent upon their reader. The fourth chapter turns to a particularly Late Antique form of allusion, in which the poet reproduced the exact words of his source in a different sense. This transpositional mode of allusion is characteristic of the Late Antique creation of a classical past; for it allows the poet to be, in a radical sense, a reader. Because the text's struggle to mean was of central importance in Late Antiquity, poets came to create space for reading. The fragmented surface of a Late Antique poem draws attention to the necessary presence of the reader, and it draws that reader in.
The Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity; The reader; intertextuality; allusion; Ausonius; Prudentius; Claudian
Fontaine, Michael Scott; Pelliccia, Hayden Newhall; Pucci, Joseph Michael
Ph. D., Classics
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis