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The Origin of SinAn English Translation of the "Hamartigenia"$
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Aurelius Prudentius Clemens

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801442223

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801442223.001.0001

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Writing in Chains

Writing in Chains

(p.56) 1. Writing in Chains
The Origin of Sin


, Martha A. Malamud
Cornell University Press

This chapter explores new dimensions of Aurelius Prudentius Clemens' Hamartigenia through a focus on ornaments and figures—textual devices that delighted late antique readers but which tend to be opaque to modern readers. The Hamartigenia offers many instances of the image that deforms or changes how we can apprehend a text's meaning rather than conforming to habituated modes of understanding. The chapter discusses two key concepts that are essential in understanding how Prudentius and other late antique poets composed their poems through recognizing the importance of visualization in their conception of how audiences are affected by speech and writing: ekphrasis and enargeia. The pursuit of such thematic images and figures enhances the understanding of Prudentius' often dark and always intricate poetics, and further advances the study of the late antique poetic imagination.

Keywords:   Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, Hamartigenia, ornaments, figures, textual devices, late antique poetry, visualization, ekphrasis, enargeia

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