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Title: Claudian the poet : poetology, myth, and storytelling
Author: Coombe, Clare
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 8138
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2012
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Claudian the poet: poetology, myth, and story-telling The poetry of Claudian has, until recently, been studied principally for the historical information it provides for the late fourth century AD; less attention has been paid to interpreting its poetics, on account of the persistent distaste for the late antique style which has been condemned for its episodic structure and 'baroque' ornamentation. This thesis responds to the failure to examine the poetry through detailed literary analysis, and proposes a method for reading the poetry of Claudian based on the approaches developed by Roberts (1989). It argues that it is the poetics which are used to promote a political agenda in support of Claudian's patron Stilicho. I propose a reading which recognizes that the individual episodes, from which the poems are constructed, unite on an overarching level; in particular, I demonstrate that elements such as mythological images, descriptions and characterizations serve as key signifiers for that level and should be privileged rather than dismissed as ornamentation. This approach reveals the way in which the story-worlds constructed in the poems promote the political agenda which corresponds to the overarching level. The story-worlds created from these significant elements provide a platform on which contemporary events and characters can be (re)performed in order to propagate a particular version of 'real life', corresponding to the agenda of Stilicho. Using story-telling techniques, Claudian constructs a poetic universe under threat from chaos, and defended by a hero, Stilicho, against monstrous enemies. Claudian also manipulates his audience's expectation that poetry is a deceptive artifice. By making metapoetic references to the power of poetry and the poet's ability to deceive, he breaks down the 'fourth wall' between his story-world and the audience's experience of 'real life'. This brings the poetic monsters and heroes flooding into the audience's lives, and turns the story-world into another version of political reality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available