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The Experience of PoetryFrom Homer's Listeners to Shakespeare's Readers$
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Derek Attridge

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198833154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198833154.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

Ancient Rome: The Republic and the Augustan Age

Ancient Rome: The Republic and the Augustan Age

(p.85) 4Ancient Rome: The Republic and the Augustan Age
The Experience of Poetry

Derek Attridge

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with earliest form of Latin verse, the Saturnian, dating from the early centuries after Rome’s founding; little is known about it, however. A native tradition of written verse was established when Ennius created a Latin equivalent of the Greek hexameter, and there is evidence of public performances of his epic verse. During the Late Republic, the two major poets were Lucretius and Catullus, the former inviting a reader imbibing versified philosophy on the page, the latter inviting performance in a convivial setting—but also incorporating performance in the verse itself. Cicero, in the same period, provides testimony to the practice of having skilled readers at symposia. The two poets who dominate the Augustan era, Virgil and Horace, also represent opposing attitudes to performance, the former embracing it, the latter professing to abhor it. Allusions by Ovid and Propertius to poetic performance are also discussed.

Keywords:   Latin, epic, lyric, Saturnian, Ennius, Lucretius, Catullus, Ovid, Propertius, revision

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