On with the Dance! Imagining the Chorus in Augustan Poetry

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On with the Dance! Imagining the Chorus in Augustan Poetry

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dc.contributor.advisor Tarrant, R.J. J.
dc.contributor.author Curtis, Lauren
dc.date.accessioned 2013-09-04T21:46:15Z
dash.embargo.terms 2015-06-07 en_US
dc.date.issued 2013-09-04
dc.date.submitted 2013
dc.identifier.citation Curtis, Lauren. 2013. On with the Dance! Imagining the Chorus in Augustan Poetry. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University. en_US
dc.identifier.other http://dissertations.umi.com/gsas.harvard:10991 en
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11004928
dc.description.abstract This dissertation investigates how Augustan poetry imagines, redefines and reconfigures the idea of the chorus. It argues that the chorus, a quintessential marker of Greek culture, was translated and transformed into a peculiarly Roman phenomenon whereby poets invented their relationship with an imagined past and implicated it in the present. Augustan poets, I suggest, created a sustained and intensely intertextual choral poetics that played into contemporary poetic debates about the power of writing versus song and the complexity of responding to performance culture through multiple layers of written tradition. Focusing in particular on Virgil’s Aeneid, Propertius’ Elegies and Horace’s Odes, the dissertation uses a series of case studies to trace the role played by scenes of embedded choral song and dance in Augustan poetics. The scene is set by comparing how a range of texts respond differently to a single fundamental aspect of Greek choral culture—the figure of the chorus leader—and by establishing Catullus as an important predecessor to Augustan choral discourse. The dissertation then turns to explore how choral language and imagery become involved in some of the central issues of Augustan poetry: Latin love poetry’s construction of female desirability and male anxiety, the creation of poetic authority in Augustan lyric and elegy, and the search for the origins of Roman ritual in Virgil’s Aeneid. Finally, these embedded scenes are juxtaposed with Horace’s Carmen Saeculare, a text composed, remarkably, for choral performance on the Roman civic stage, which is shown to activate the choral metaphor that had been created by the Latin literary imagination. By demonstrating Augustan poetry’s engagement with this aspect of Greek performance culture, the study sheds new light on the relationship between Greek and Roman poetry, shifting the focus from the reinvention of Greek genres and the study of particular sites of allusion towards an understanding of the complex dynamics of reception and reconfiguration at work in these poets’ reappropriation of both a literary and cultural idea. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship The Classics en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dash.license META_ONLY
dc.subject Classical literature en_US
dc.subject Classical studies en_US
dc.subject Comparative literature en_US
dc.subject Augustan poetry en_US
dc.subject chorus en_US
dc.subject Greek literature en_US
dc.subject Latin literature en_US
dc.subject performance en_US
dc.title On with the Dance! Imagining the Chorus in Augustan Poetry en_US
dc.type Thesis or Dissertation en_US
dash.depositing.author Curtis, Lauren
dash.embargo.until 10000-01-01
thesis.degree.date 2013 en_US
thesis.degree.discipline Classical Philology en_US
thesis.degree.grantor Harvard University en_US
thesis.degree.level doctoral en_US
thesis.degree.name Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMember Henrichs, Albert en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMember Nagy, Gregory en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMember Thomas, Richard en_US

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