Poems in Their Place: The Intertextuality and Order of Poetic Collections

By Neil Fraistat | Go to book overview

William S. Anderson


The Theory and Practice of Poetic Arrangement from Vergil to Ovid

Shortly after Augustine took up his post as professor of rhetoric in Milan in 382, he came into contact with Bishop Ambrose. Although Ambrose's influence on Augustine's eventual conversion to Christianity must be the dominant factor of their relationship, I am interested here in a few details that Augustine registers in passing, with amazement, about the bishop. When he and others would go in to talk with Ambrose, they would find him reading. Nobody interfered with them as they approached, but they were daunted by the sight of a man reading silently, and, after watching him a while in his silent activity, they departed. None of them was so bold as to dare to annoy a man so intent. "When he read," says Augustine as of an unusual practice, "his eyes moved through the pages and his heart worked out the meaning, but his voice and tongue were silent." 1 For Augustine as late as the fourth century, it was a novelty to find someone reading silently: he expected the bishop to read aloud. That would have been a surprise four hundred years earlier, in the time of Augustus, but equally amazing would have been the reading materials available to the bishop. Ambrose was silently following the writing down each page, then turning the page and continuing: he was, in short, reading a book, no doubt a parchment codex of the Bible or a commentary on some part of it. Thus, Ambrose was reading very much as we do today, but he was one important stage ahead of Augustine in reading silently, another vital stage ahead of the Latin poets and audiences that I am concerned with in this study, inasmuch as he enjoyed the advantage of a codex and pages, which could be turned easily in either direction.

The five poets whom I wish to discuss, Vergil, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid, in the half-century dominated by the Emperor Augustus, between roughly 36 B.C. and 14 A.D., published collections of their poems, not in books such as we use, but in successive columns on long papyrus

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Poems in Their Place: The Intertextuality and Order of Poetic Collections
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction the Place of the Book and the Book as Place 3
  • Notes 14
  • Some Issues for Study of Integrated Collections 18
  • Notes 40
  • The Theory and Practice of Poetic Arrangement from Vergil to Ovid 44
  • Notes 63
  • Sequences, Systems, Models Sidney and the Secularization of Sonnets 66
  • Notes 91
  • Jonson, Marvell, and Miscellaneity? 95
  • Notes 115
  • The Arrangement and Order of John Donne's Poems 119
  • Appendix A: Epigrams 150
  • Appendix B: Love Elegies 150
  • Appendix C: Epicedes and Obsequies 153
  • Appendix D: Divine Poems 154
  • Appendix E: Verse Letters 155
  • "Strange Text!" "Paradise Regain'D . . . to Which is Added Samson Agonistes" 164
  • Notes 191
  • "Images Reflect from Art to Art" Alexander Pope's Collected Works of 1717 195
  • Notes 231
  • Multum in Pairvo Wordsworth's Poems, in Two Volumes of 1807 234
  • Notes 251
  • The Book of Byron and the Book of a World 254
  • Notes 271
  • The Arrangement of Browning's Dramatic Lyrics (1842) 273
  • Notes 286
  • Whitman's Leaves and the American "Lyric-Epic" 289
  • Notes 306
  • Marjorie Perloff the Two Ariels the (re)making of the Sylvia Plath Canon 308
  • Notes 331
  • Index 335
  • Notes on the Contributors 343
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