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I, the PoetFirst-Person Form in Horace, Catullus, and Propertius$
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Kathleen McCarthy

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739552

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739552.001.0001

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Voices on the Page

Voices on the Page

(p.1) Introduction Voices on the Page
I, the Poet

Kathleen McCarthy

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of first-person Latin poems. It begins by studying a poem by Gaius Valerius Catullus, which yokes together the world of the characters and the world of the reader by means of the first-person speaker, who is positioned as both a character in the storyworld and the author of the text. The chapter then seeks to describe how first-person Latin poems produce their distinctive charisma by intertwining social and literary communication. Central to the effects of such poems is the fact that one can see the poem's discourse as an artistic creation designed to communicate with readers who will have no other contact with the poet. Also central to their effects, however, is the fact that this orientation toward distant or future readers is almost never registered explicitly in the poem, which instead shows an image of face-to-face communication in an intimate social world that readers can never access.

Keywords:   first-person Latin poems, Gaius Valerius Catullus, first-person speaker, first-person poems, Latin poems, social communication, literary communication

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