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The Space that RemainsReading of Latin Poetry in Late Antiquity$
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Aaron Pelttari

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452765

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452765.001.0001

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Prefaces and the Reader’s Approach to the Text

Prefaces and the Reader’s Approach to the Text

(p.45) Chapter 2 Prefaces and the Reader’s Approach to the Text
The Space that Remains

Aaron Pelttari

Cornell University Press

This chapter uses Gérard Genette's idea of the paratext to interrogate the development of prefaces to Latin poetry. It shows that the prefaces of Claudian and Prudentius are distinct from earlier poetic forms, and addresses the prose prefaces of Ausonius in terms of the poet's construction and imagined reception of his work. Because a paratext stands apart from the work, it allows the author a space in which to read his own poem. In this way, prefaces allow poets to enact for their readers one possible approach to the text. Claudian, Prudentius, and Ausonius use their prefaces to invite, to interrogate, or sometimes even to ward off the reader's influence over their text.

Keywords:   Gérard Genette, paratext, prefaces, Latin poetry, Claudian, Predentius, Ausonius, poets, readers

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