Papinian mutability: Statius and early modernity Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Mengelkoch, Dustin Larry
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • This dissertation examines the reception of the epic and lyric works of the Roman poet Statius in the early modern period. Although the study of Statius is now relegated to only the most dedicated of classics departments, early modern readers from Dante and Petrarch to Shakespeare and Milton enthusiastically read Statius alongside other classical Latin poets such as Virgil and Ovid. While Statius's reputation during the period is well established, what is not as well known is how Renaissance readers interpreted Statius - how they made sense of his relationship to other ancient poets, how they understood his political sympathies, and above all how they labored to understand poems notorious for their opacity and difficulty. Whereas other classical poets were perceived clearly to state their poetic (and even political) ends, and thus to guide the reader, Statius offered no such guidance. The compressed nature of his poetry, in form and content alike, forced readers to fill in, rebuild, and expand wherever necessary. This process yielded a uniquely participatory form of reading that came to be associated specifically with Statius.
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  • Wolfe, Jessica
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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