The Introduction sheds light on the reception of classical poetry by focusing on the materiality of the poets’ bodies and their tombs. It outlines four sets of issues, or commonplaces, that govern the organization of the entire volume. The first concerns the opposition between literature and material culture, the life of the mind vs the apprehensions of the body—which fails to acknowledge that poetry emerges from and is attended to by the mortal body. The second concerns the religious significance of the tomb and its location in a mythical landscape which is shaped, in part, by poetry. The third investigates the literary graveyard as a place where poets’ bodies and poetic corpora are collected. Finally, the alleged ‘tomb of Virgil’ provides a specific site where the major claims made in this volume can be most easily be tested.
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