LAT 323 • Elegy
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This course will provide a survey of the genre of Roman erotic elegy together with its antecedents in classical and Hellenistic Greek poetry. The course will discuss issues and approaches such as intertextuality and allusion, parody, appropriation of poetic subgenres, genre-mixing, authenticity and the development of a distinctive poetic voice, attitudes concerning gender and sexuality, and the relationship of poetry to contemporary Roman politics. Some attention will also be paid to basic matters of textual history and criticism. The course will begin by examining the earliest extant examples of Roman elegy in the four elegiac poems of Catullus (65-68), and also devote some consideration to his amatory epigrams and what we know of his predecessors in that genre. We shall then move to an in-depth treatment of Propertius: we shall read Book I (the "Monobiblos") straight through and discuss issues of structure and arrangement, including the concept of the Augustan poetry book. We shall then treat several thorny problems of poem division in Book II, Propertius' Callimachean program poems in Book III, and finally turn to representative etiological elegies in Book IV and their relationship to the Augustan cultural program. Next we shall examine Tibullus' development of elegy into a form of extended stream-of-consciousness meditation as well as political panegyric, and shall give some brief consideration to the various poets of the Corpus Tibullianum, including the short poems written in the persona of the adolescent poetess Sulpicia. The course will conclude with a selective treatment of Ovid's parodic inversion of elegiac conventions in the Amores. The final grade for this course will be based on two midterms (20% each), a final exam (20%), a ten-page paper (20%), and in-class translation (20%).
J. Godwin, Catullus: Poems 61-68 (Aris & Phillips) ISBN 085668-671-9 Michael Putnam, Tibullus: A Commentary (Oklahoma) ISBN 978-0-8061-1560-3 L. Richardson Propertius: Elegies I-IV (Oklahoma) ISBN 978-0-8061-3468-0 C. A. Jestin & P. B. Katz, Ovid: Amores, Metamorphoses: Selections ISBN 86516-414-7