CLSL-264-01 Roman Elegy
Fall for 2016-2017
Treating myths, mistresses, leisure, and love, elegy flourished in Rome from the late Republic through the reign of Augustus, and the poetry created during this period was so esteemed that one Roman rhetorician could write, “In elegy, we rival the Greeks.” In this class, we will explore the development and the major themes of the genre through the works of two Latin elegists, Tibullus and Ovid. Tibullus, who wrote one of the earliest complete books of Roman love elegy to survive, was regarded by many as the finest elegist, while Ovid, who began his career writing love elegy like Tibullus, ended it in exile, where he reworked many of the genre’s traditional elements in his book of “Laments” (Tristia). We will consider questions such as: How do elegists balance working within a tradition with innovation and personal style? To what extent is this emotional poetry? How did elegy interact with other genres of Latin poetry?
Prerequisites: CLSL 101
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