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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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Displacing Tradition

Displacing Tradition

A New-Allegorical Reading of Ausonius, Claudian, and Rutilius Namatianus

(p.207) 6 Displacing Tradition
The Poetics of Late Latin Literature

Marco Formisano

Oxford University Press

This chapter brings together three of the most widely read late Latin poems—Ausonius’s Mosella, Claudian’s De raptu Proserpinae, and Rutilius Namatianus’s De reditu suo—under a single thematic umbrella: displacement. Displacement in these texts emerges not only as a journey or physical movement; it can also be read allegorically, that is, as a process of distantiation from the centre, which is represented by the language of the classical poetic tradition. Allegory and allegoresis are common hermeneutic elements in late antique literature, but their significance is normally recognized within religious and philosophical contexts. By emphasizing the allegorical quality of literary texts and, above all, these texts’ allegories of textuality itself, this chapter argues for the emergence of a poetic language, which constructs itself through a process of distantiation from the classical literary past rather than from veneration of it.

Keywords:   allegory/allegoresis, Ausonius, classical poetic tradition, Claudian, displacement, journey, late Latin poetic language, Rutilius Namatianus

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