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The Poetics of Late Latin Literature$
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Jas' Elsner and Jesús Hernández Lobato

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199355631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199355631.001.0001

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The Poetics of Latin Prose Praise and the Fourth-Century Curve

The Poetics of Latin Prose Praise and the Fourth-Century Curve

10 The Poetics of Latin Prose Praise and the Fourth-Century Curve
The Poetics of Late Latin Literature

Roger Rees

Oxford University Press

Despite the recommendations of treatises—by Quintilian, Menander, Rhetor, and others—which encourage the notion of an ossified genre, chronological sequencing of surviving late Latin prose panegyric opens a view of generic evolution. Poeticization (not versification) was available as a means of renewing praise discourse to include golden and silver allusions, intertext by quotation and paraphrase, lexical adventure in neologism, and incorporation of poetic lexis and “locus.” What emerges is a trajectory towards a more poeticized rhetoric. In this regard Pacatus, in his speech of 389 CE, may represent a culmination in the narrative of the aesthetics of political praise discourse, but he is by no means its only innovator. Panegyrical poetics were in constant flux, but the general direction was to bring this prose closer to poetry.

Keywords:   Late Latin, literary aesthetics, panegyric, poetics, prose

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