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Title: Repetition and internal allusion in Lucretius' 'De Rerum Natura'
Author: Buglass, Abigail Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 4953
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis aims to solve the apparent problem of the frequent repetitions in Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (DRN). Verbal repetitions of many different lengths pervade DRN, and are noted in the scholarship. Yet a consensus has not been reached as to their purpose and function, or even if they rightly belong in the text. Multi-linear repetitions are viewed as a temporary stop-gap which Lucretius would have removed or adjusted had he lived long enough to effect it; or as later interpolations; while shorter repetitions are underplayed or even ignored altogether. But repetitions and internal allusions in DRN are part of a purposeful, meaningful didactic and rhetorical strategy, and they form much of the intellectual structure of the poem. These internal connections combine in DRN to form a remarkably complex intratextual network. The thesis argues that repetition is a crucial way in which Lucretius conveys his arguments and persuades the reader to pursue a rational life. Chapter 1 analyses the ways in which Lucretius' epic predecessors used repetition and how Lucretius may have applied these models. Chapter 2 looks at the internal evidence for the alleged unfinished state of the poem and examines the function of long repetitions in DRN. Chapter 3 investigates the rhetorical background to and functions of different kinds of repetition in DRN. Chapter 4 explores the didactic and psychological effects of repetitions and internal allusions. Chapter 5 shows how repetition creates an image of the world Lucretius describes: just as Lucretius tells us that atoms and compounds make up different substances depending on their arrangement in combination, so repetitions perform different functions and produce different outcomes depending on their placement in the text. Throughout the poem, repetition serves again and again to reinforce Lucretius' message, creating argumentative unity, and bringing order from chaos.
Supervisor: Harrison, Stephen ; Reinhardt, Tobias Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Classical literature--Criticism ; Textual ; Repetition in literature ; Didactic poetry ; Classical--History and criticism