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Myth and the Authorial Persona in Ovid’s Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto

KNIFTON, LAUREN (2014) Myth and the Authorial Persona in Ovid’s Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto are crucial for understanding Ovid’s use of myth, as he repeatedly uses mythological exempla to illustrate his own condition in exile and to characterise the authorial mask which he adopts in the exilic epistles. My doctorate approaches the author-persona relationship by investigating how Ovid utilises mythological references to construct his persona in literary terms, a methodology that rejects any attempt to reveal the “man behind the mask” and instead focuses on appreciating the complexity of the authorial exilic persona in its own right. By focusing on the mask of the author, this thesis looks in-depth at how the authorial persona is constructed by references to myth and literature, and how this often relates back to other Ovidian personae. My work focuses on the most common myths found in the exile works featuring the gods, epic protagonists, other heroes, the Underworld, and famous wives. The mythical exempla found in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto are commonly equated with the author’s depiction of himself, or paralleled with the portrayals of his wife, friends, and enemies. As these mythical exempla are deployed, Ovid often makes allusions to other texts (Ovidian as well as those by other authors) which feature either the same narratives or characters, giving rise to a rich interplay of myth and intertextual allusions. All in all, the authorial figure in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, the relegatus poeta, becomes increasingly mythologised as he assumes the guises of the protagonists of tragedy and epic; persecuted, abandoned, and doomed to remain away from his homeland like Ulysses, Jason, and Philoctetes.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:PhD, Latin Literature, Ovid, Ovid in exile, exile works, Ovidian exile works, persona theory, Ovidian persona, persona in Latin literature, mask, mask of the author, authorial persona, literature, tristia, epistulae ex ponto, man behind the mask, myth, Roman myth, Greek myth, function of myth, role of myth, myth in Latin literature, Greco-Roman myth, Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, Amor, Cupid, Ulysses, Jason, Achilles, Philoctetes, Theseus, Pirithous, Oedipus, Telegonus, Penelope, Laodamia, Alcestis, Evadne, Ovid's wife, Ovid.
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:11 Feb 2014 12:06

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