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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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Poetry as Writing

Poetry as Writing

(p.185) Chapter 4 Poetry as Writing
I, the Poet

Kathleen McCarthy

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on poems that represent storyworld communication as written rather than spoken and thus raise a different set of questions about how this storyworld communication relates to the poetic discourse. A written collection of poetry was by no means radical and new in the days of Catullus, Propertius, and Horace. Yet it still was a phenomenon that starkly distanced these poets from some of the most important models in the literary tradition. In an ironic twist, the representation of their poetry as a written form of communication brings the Roman poets back closer to the situation of the archaic Greek lyrists, since in both cases the form in which the poem reaches its extended audience is echoed in the storyworld. The chapter then studies Catullus's epistolary poems and the poems of Horace's first book of Epistles. Each poet shines a spotlight on how the written form can be perceived as mediating between communicative partners.

Keywords:   storyworld communication, poetic discourse, poetry collection, Catullus, Propertius, Horace, Roman poets, epistolary poems, poetry

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