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Title: Lucretian Lyric: Allusion and Appropriation in Horace's Odes
Authors: Curran, Emma Laraine
Advisors: Feeney, Denis C
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: De Rerum Natura
Subjects: Classical literature
Ancient languages
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines Horace’s engagement with Lucretius in his Odes. Although commentators have studied Horace’s Lucretian allusions in particular poems, and have seen general Epicurean resonances in the Odes, I present a sustained treatment of Lucretian language in the collection, elucidating not only Horace’s relationship to the Epicurean, but his construction of his lyric voice. Horace’s references to Lucretius are implicated in his creation of a distinctive generic identity for the Odes, which involves claiming a place among the Greek lyricists while making his poetry an organic part of Roman culture, topography, and politics. A study of Horace’s engagement with Lucretius allows insight into the lyric persona; Horace appropriates Lucretian language as he defends his own poetic activity and develops his authoritative, vatic voice. However, the lyricist treats his predecessor with an equal degree of irreverence, forcing Lucretius into confrontation with the political sphere and often turning the philosopher against himself. Lucretian allusion is, I argue, bound up in Horace’s assertive lyric voice, but also in his idiosyncratic and paradoxical sublime imagery. In the first three chapters, I explore Horace’s relationship to Lucretius through three major areas: the poet’s depiction of his Sabine estate; his characterisation of his relationship with his patron, Maecenas; and his use of sublime language, particularly in the Bacchus odes, 2.19 and 3.25, and the endings of books 2 and 3. I show how Horace’s references to Lucretius are integral to the poet’s authoritative voice; the poet uses Lucretian pastoral imagery to imbue his property with ethical ataraxia, and increasingly places his patron on the side of urban anxieties, while proclaiming his own freedom. The lyricist’s assertion of authority involves a surprising confrontation between Lucretian language and the political order. I show, as well, how Horace’s inversions and transformations of Lucretius’ philosophical language are involved in the construction of an irreverent and tricky lyric sublimity. The fourth chapter explores Odes 4, a much more political work written a decade after the earlier collection, contending that Horace grants space within his Augustan encomium for Lucretian ideas of eroticism, seasonal cycles, and mortality.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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