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Speaking Volumes: Narrative and Intertext in Ovid and Other Latin Poets

London: Duckworth
January 2001
In a poem written in exile, Ovid pictures his latest boon in conversation with his previous volumes, united in the bookcase containing his collected works back in Rome. One can imagine their dialogue - in the protected space of the whispering bookcase - as loaded with allusion and intertextuality. Speaking Volumes, a collection of essays by the distinguished classicist Alessandro Barchiesi, here translated into English for the first time, examines Ovid along with intertextuality in Latin literature more generally, and in the wider context of the Greco-Roman tradition. Professor Barcheisi provides fresh perspectives on the literary self-consciousness of the Latin poets, the allusive density of their texts, and the conflict between poetry and power in the Augustan age. The conflict between the classicists and the texts they comment on, argue over and theorize about is also revealingly examined. Among recurring topics in this challenging book, which will be of interest to all those studying classical literature and literary criticism, are the impact of intertextuality on the form of epic and epistle, the strategic significance of allusive poetics in a political context, and the importance of reading and interpretation as poetic themes.