Polemical Allusion to Lucretius in Tibullus - Jason S. Nethercut - Vita e Pensiero - Articolo Aevum Antiquum Vita e Pensiero

Polemical Allusion to Lucretius in Tibullus

digital Polemical Allusion to Lucretius in Tibullus
Fascicolo AEVUM ANTIQUUM - 2021 - 21
Titolo Polemical Allusion to Lucretius in Tibullus
Polemical Allusion to Lucretius in Tibullus
Editore Vita e Pensiero
Formato Articolo | Pdf
Online da 07-2022
Doi 10.26350/020747_000079
Issn 1121-8932 (stampa) | 1827-7861 (digitale)
€ 6,00

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The basic argument in this paper is twofold: first, that Lucretius serves as an important target of allusion in Tibullan elegy; second, that through allusions to the De Rerum Natura Tibullus affirms the validity of the elegiac view of love over Lucretius’ Epicurean perspective. Tibullus’ allusions to Lucretius are primarily polemical. On the one hand, Lucretius represented for Tibullus the first hexameter Latin poet who wrote extensively about the human experience of love. Lucretius thus served Tibullus as a prominent model against which  he could juxtapose his own poetry; not only does Tibullus use the DRN as a literary cipher through which he elevates elegy over hexameter poetry, but also part of this elevation  involves singling out Lucretius as a strident opponent of the amatory exploits valued in elegiac poetry. On the other hand, the specific allusions to Lucretius explored in this paper fall  into two basic groups: direct allusions to Lucretius’ repudiation of love and its effects at the end of DRN IV and allusions to other areas of Lucretian philosophy. This second group of  allusions always implies what is explicit in the first group, insofar as these allusions implicitly reaffirm the value of the amatory life that Lucretius had vehemently denied. The  allusions to Lucretius in this second group regularly show that Tibullus appropriates materialist language from Lucretius and applies it to the realm of human emotion; in the process,  he valorizes the emotionality that characterizes the amatory relationships endorsed in his own elegiac poetry. In the final analysis, then, Tibullus’ reception of Lucretius is  undamentally oppositional, as Tibullus rejects the Lucretian perspective on love, religion, death, and the value of emotion.


Tibullus, Lucretius, elegy, emotion, love, allusion, intertextuality

Biografia dell'autore

University of South Florida. Email: nethercut@usf.edu

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