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Tombs of the Ancient PoetsBetween Literary Reception and Material Culture$
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Nora Goldschmidt and Barbara Graziosi

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198826477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198826477.001.0001

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Ovid’s Tombs

Ovid’s Tombs

Afterlives of a Poetic corpus

(p.101) 5 Ovid’s Tombs
Tombs of the Ancient Poets

Nora Goldschmidt

Oxford University Press

Punning on the dual meaning of the Latin word corpus as both ‘body’ and ‘body of work’, Ovid attempted to define the future of his oeuvre with reference to the future entombment of his body, fusing his textual and biological bodies in his works. No one ever found out where Ovid was truly buried, which means that the poet’s body did, in fact, disappear into the realm of textuality. But rather than accepting the material disappearance of the poet’s bones, an alternative reception history has emerged, poised between literary reception and material culture. Ovid’s tomb takes centre stage in this story, as later generations of readers—from the author of the medieval De vetula to early modern tomb-hunters in Romania and Rome—continued to discover and rediscover the poet’s long-lost grave by engaging in creative dialogue with the poet’s work.

Keywords:   Ovid, reception, fakes, De vetula, Johann Heinrich Schönfeld, Mausoleum of the Nasonii

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