Title

Powers of Attraction and Repulsion: The Ambivalence of the Poet in Propertius’s 4.7

Abstract

Propertius’s last book of elegies, composed circa 16 BCE, departs from the prior three books composed over the preceding 12 years. In 4.7, the character of the poet is berated by the ghost of his newly-deceased lover, Cynthia. Cynthia’s character functions as metonymy for Propertius’ body of poetry and the genre of elegy as a whole, and the poem’s narrative is a means for Propertius to explore his ambivalence towards his work. 4.7 is a retrospective poem that references the first three poems of Propertius’s first book, composed around 28 BCE. Cynthia’s ghost has the same hair, eyes and acerbic speech as her living counterpart, and these elements represent aspects of writing the love elegy that still attract the poet. However, the changed aspects, such as the ghost’s charred jewelry and clothes, represent over-adornment becoming repulsive to the poet and contributing to his decision to move away from the love elegy.

Faculty Sponsor

Dana Burgess

Tracks

Literary Criticism

Terms of Use

ARMINDA Terms of Use

Location

Olin 129

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 11:00 AM Apr 11th, 11:15 AM

Powers of Attraction and Repulsion: The Ambivalence of the Poet in Propertius’s 4.7

Olin 129

Propertius’s last book of elegies, composed circa 16 BCE, departs from the prior three books composed over the preceding 12 years. In 4.7, the character of the poet is berated by the ghost of his newly-deceased lover, Cynthia. Cynthia’s character functions as metonymy for Propertius’ body of poetry and the genre of elegy as a whole, and the poem’s narrative is a means for Propertius to explore his ambivalence towards his work. 4.7 is a retrospective poem that references the first three poems of Propertius’s first book, composed around 28 BCE. Cynthia’s ghost has the same hair, eyes and acerbic speech as her living counterpart, and these elements represent aspects of writing the love elegy that still attract the poet. However, the changed aspects, such as the ghost’s charred jewelry and clothes, represent over-adornment becoming repulsive to the poet and contributing to his decision to move away from the love elegy.

Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).