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Critical studies in Ovid's Heroides 1, 2, 7

Fear, Trevor (1993) Critical studies in Ovid's Heroides 1, 2, 7. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The thesis consists of three full-length studies of individual poems in Ovid's Heroides. A preface establishes the current trend of modern scholarship (particular attention is paid to the book-length studies of Howard Jacobson and Florence Verducci) and suggests the basis of my own critical approach. Chapter One is a study of Heroides 1 (Penelope to Ulysses). Stress here is placed on how Ovid has adapted the Homeric epic figure to his own elegiac context. Penelope appears not as the magnanimous heroine of epic but as the peevish lover of elegy. We are presented with a Penelope who finds her sexual deprivation hard to endure, who alludes disingenuously to Calypso and who is not above using Ulysses' family as a means of emotional blackmail. Chapter Two deals with Heroides 2 (Phyllis to Demophoon); emphasis here is placed upon the problems arising from our ignorance of Ovid’s source material and how the poet has adapted the myth to the exigencies of the epistolary form. In this instance the letter format will be seen to be admirably suited to the reflective character of the heroine. The Phyllis of the Ovidian epistle is not so much the precipitate lover as the ruminant moralist. Chapter Three concentrates upon Heroides 7 (Dido to Aeneas). The discussion here centres upon how the poet has allowed his heroine a free hand rhetorically to adapt the details of the Virgilian text. The possibility of this epistle being a political diatribe on Augustanism is denied. A short postscript suggests the direction that future studies of the Heroides may take and expresses the hope that the poetry of Ovid will continue to be read as something more significant than mere verbal display.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1993
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:57

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