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Title: Piecing together meaning : reading fragmentation in Ovid's Metamorphoses
Author: Allman, Lizzy Elizabeth Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 8672
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
Ovid's Metamorphoses is a generic hybrid, being both one continuous epic poem (carmen perpetuum 1.4) and staying true to Callimachean principles of episodic, finely spun poetry (deducite 1.4). Covering around two hundred and fifty stories across the (more or less continuous) fifteen books, the multifaceted and complex narrative is necessarily characterised by fragmentation and segmentation. There has been much work on the narrative of the Metamorphoses and its complexity, but studies often focus on the poem's narrator(s) - often seeing the multiple internal narrators as in some way reflective of the aims of the single external one. Few studies embrace this narrative fragmentation, seeking to organise and compartmentalise the Metamorphoses' many discrete narrative parts. This study aims to build on the existing work on the poem's narrative with a particular and fresh focus on reading rather than upon narrating, analysing how readers negotiate and piece together the many fragments of narrative in Ovid's epic poem. This thesis, therefore, will explore how readers of Ovid's Metamorphoses are directed to construct meaning from its fragmented narrative, and I will explore this through examining instances of internal audiences, interpreters and readers. However, the instances of reading that I will examine within the text will not straightforwardly be focused on narratees and their responses and readings to internal narratives (though many instances will be, and of course this will bleed into other focuses). I will also be examining instances of fragmented bodies, as metaphors for the fragmented narrative of Ovid's epic poem, for specific clues as to how we might read Ovid's fragmented epic. Given that the Latin word corpus - much like the English word body - refers to both a physical and poetic body, I will take up the recurring etymological and metaphorical link between the physical and poetic body within the Metamorphoses, and demonstrate how physical bodies within the poem can be seen to act as metaphors for the poetic body. The connection between books and bodies is a material and physical one, and the word itself hints at fragmentation in wholeness too: Ovid's carmen perpetuum, is one continuous song, and yet it is composed of many different parts (or limbs). This link between physical bodies and poetic ones therefore offers a particularly pertinent way of examining the role of reading and interpreting texts in Ovid's epic poem. Examining the internal responses to (fragmented) physical bodies, as metaphors for poetic bodies, will therefore provide a potential model for how external readers of Ovid piece together meaning from its fragmented narrative( s). My investigation of how readers are directed to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct meaning(s) from the fragments of narrative and fragmented narratives within the Metamorphoses begins with the early books of the Tristia, looking there for an Ovidian model of reading and readership. The Tristia often recalls and revisits the Metamorphoses, and through this we are presented with a first, authorial reading of the epic. Within the Tristia there is an impetus and invitation for all readers, especially Augustus, to reread and revise their original interpretations of Ovid's Metamorphoses, highlighting the importance of retrospective reading. Therefore, through an examination of the reading processes presented in these early books of the Tristia, I hope to determine a methodological approach to reading fragmentation which I will use as a lens to retrospectively reread the Metamorphoses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.702450  DOI: Not available
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