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Title: The Environmental Poetry of Augustan Rome
Authors: Fredericksen, Erik
Advisors: Feeney, Denis
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: Classics
Environmental Literature
Latin Poetry
Subjects: Classical literature
Environmental studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation argues that central texts of Augustan poetry—Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics, and Horace’s Odes—should be understood as environmental poetry. In contrast to readings that assume forms of nature poetry are mere Romantic projections, that suggest Roman authors did not care about the environment, or that relegate place and environment to the status of background and setting, I use close, contextualized readings of poems to show how Horace and Vergil make issues of place, environment, and ecology crucial to their poetry. At the same time, I demonstrate how engaging with ancient texts can complicate and enrich environmental literary criticism, by historically deepening and broadening understandings of environmental literature. In my introduction, I call for a sensitive and mutually enriching dialogue between ancient texts and environmental literary criticism, contextualizing my readings in relation to ecocriticism and classical scholarship. I then devote two chapters each to the Eclogues, Georgics, and Odes, showing how each work probes and imagines the relationship between humans, local environments, and the nonhuman world. Moreover, I argue that the environment is not simply an object of representation and thematic interest in these poems: each work creates a distinctive environmental poetics, in which the formation and specific character of its poetry is tied to the nonhuman world and to particular local environments. In my conclusion, I briefly consider Ovid’s exile poetry from an environmental perspective. The example of Ovid shows how my readings of Vergil and Horace can form the basis for further environmental readings in Roman poetry and helps clarify that the environmental poetics I find in Augustan authors are based not on realistic description or extra-textual reference, but on the poetic imagination.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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