Latin Elegy and Narratology

Fragments of Story

Edited by Genevieve Liveley and Patricia Salzman-Mitchell


Oct 2008
Literary Criticism/Ancient & Classical
285 pp. 6x9

$71.95 cloth 978-0-8142-0406-1
Add cloth to shopping cart

$14.95 CD 978-0-8142-9180-1
Add CD to shopping cart

Shopping Cart Instructions
Review/Change Shopping Cart & Check-out

read excerpts from the book

leave / read comments and critiques of the book


“Given the extremely rich and systematic coverage of the entire genre of elegy in Latin, and its reception, this book will be required reading for people doing research on this topic.” —Alessandro Barchiesi, professor of Latin literature, University of Siena and Stanford University.

In recent decades, literary studies have shown great interest in issues concerning the elements of narrative. Narratology, with its most vocal exponents in the writings of Bal, Genette, and Ricoeur, has also emerged as an increasingly important aspect of classical scholarship. However, studies have tended to focus on genres that are deemed straightforwardly narrative in form, such as epic, history, and the novel. This volume of heretofore unpublished essays explores how theories of narrative can promote further understandings and innovative readings of a genre that is not traditionally seen as narrative: Roman elegy. While elegy does not tell a continuous story, it does contain many embedded tales—narratives in their own right—located within and interacting with the primarily nonnarrative structure of the external frame-text.

Latin Elegy and Narratology is the first volume entirely dedicated to the analysis of Latin elegy through the prism of theories of narrative. It brings together an international range of classicists whose specialties include Roman elegy, Augustan literature more generally, and critical theory. Among the questions explored in this volume are: Can the inset narratives of elegy, with their distinctive narrative strategies, provide the key to a poetics of elegiac story telling? In what ways does elegy renegotiate the linearity and teleology of narrative? Can formal theories of narratology help to make sense of the temporal contradictions and narrative incongruities that so often characterize elegiac stories? What can the reception of Roman elegy tell us about narratives of unity, identity, and authority? The essays contained in this volume provide provocative new readings and an enhanced understanding of Roman elegy using the tools of narratology.

Genevieve Liveley is a lecturer in classics at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. Patricia Salzman-Mitchell is assistant professor of classics at Montclair State University in New Jersey.