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Title: A space for song : Ovid's metapoetic landscapes
Author: Campbell, Celia Mitchell
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This study seeks to renew interest in the poetically constructed landscapes of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Far from existing as mere background to the epic, close investigation and analysis reveals the reflective relationship and mutually exerted force between landscape and narrative. Detailed readings show how the landscapes are created in order to reveal Ovid’s poetic programme, especially as concerns the intersection of genre; landscape descriptions are read as interpretive strategies for understanding the crossing of genres that comprise Ovid’s hyper-Alexandrian epic. I argue for this interest as indicated to the reader by three points of departure made by the poet that show up against the background of his interconnected patterning of narrations. These are choices demanding exegesis beyond mere recognition, and are designed to reveal a purposeful agenda that focuses attention upon the descriptions of the natural world. The first chapter explores the construction of Thessalian Tempe in Book 1, made prominent by Ovid’s mythological placement of Daphne as a Thessalian nymph. Tempe represents a landscape consequentially shaped by the narrative of Apollo and Daphne, memorialising topographically the intersection of the ‘high’ and ‘low’ genres of epic and elegy exemplified in their interaction. This narrative influence over the landscape is explored in this programmatic tale, and Tempe’s metapoetic construction is argued for using Callimachus’ Hymn to Delos as a poetic model, focusing on the figure of the Peneus common to both texts. The second chapter focuses on Helicon in Book 5, and examines the finely-drawn relationship between the contest songs and Helicon’s position as the contest prize across the complex layers of narrative space, demonstrating how the inspiratory springs of Helicon provide the narrative motivation for the contest songs and tracing the generic topography of Calliope’s song. The third chapter offers a new interpretation of Orpheus’ grove as an atmospheric doublet of the Underworld, examined through the patterning of meaning imposed by the dual meaning of umbra, and identifies Ovid’s transformation of a literary topos.
Supervisor: Leigh, Matthew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Latin ; landscape ; Ovid ; ancient epic