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Asking for the Moon: An Intertextual Approach to Metapoetic Magic in Augustan Love-Elegy and Related Genres

CHADHA, ZARA,KAUR (2014) Asking for the Moon: An Intertextual Approach to Metapoetic Magic in Augustan Love-Elegy and Related Genres. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis offers a new perspective on the metapoetic use of magic in the love-elegies of Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, a theme which, though widely acknowledged in contemporary scholarship, has so far received little comprehensive treatment. The present study approaches the motif through its intertextual dialogues with magic in earlier and contemporary texts — Theocritus’ Idyll 2, Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica, Vergil’s Eclogue 8 and Horace’s Epodes — with the aim of investigating the origin and development of love-elegy’s self-construction as magic and of the association of this theme with poetic enchantment, deceit, and failure throughout the genre. While previous commentators have noted lexical and thematic similarities between magic in love-elegy and in other Augustan and Hellenistic poetic genres, they seldom pursue these parallels or interpret them as evidence of literary interaction. By reading these correspondences as signs of intertextual relationships, this thesis provides fresh examples of magic’s metapoetic function in love-elegy — including practical rites alongside the recognised polysemy of carmina — which add to its status as a defining metaphor for the genre. This investigation tackles the subject through two complementary themes and two complementary genres. It first focuses on the relationship between magic and elegiac carmina, which develops in dialogue with Vergilian and Theocritean pastoral; it then explores magic and the beauty of the puella in her roles as narrative beloved and literary construct through its interaction with Horatian iambic. The study ends with a retrospective on elegiac love-magic via Ovidian erotodidactic elegy which unites both themes and in which the motif provides a “shorthand” for the genre. More broadly, this approach demonstrates that literary love-magic in its most recognisable form acts as an avenue for close and dynamic communication between poets.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Apr 2014 14:26

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