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The Ovidian Heroine as Author
Reading, Writing, and Community in the Heroides

$47.99 (C)

  • Date Published: July 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521117814

$ 47.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Ovid's Heroides, a catalogue of letters by women who have been deserted, has too frequently been examined as merely a lament. In a new departure, this book portrays the women of the Heroides as a community of authors. Combining close readings of the texts and their mythological backgrounds with critical methods, the book argues that the points of similarity between the different letters of the Heroides, so often derided by modern critics, represent a brilliant exploitation of intratextuality, in which the Ovidian heroine self-consciously fashions herself as an alluding author influenced by what she has read within the Heroides. Far from being naive and impotent victims, therefore, the heroines are remarkably astute, if not always successful, at adapting textual strategies that they perceive as useful for attaining their own ends. With this new approach Professor Fulkerson shows that the Heroides articulate a fictional poetic, mirroring contemporary practices of poetic composition.

    • Provides a close reading of one of the key texts of Latin literature
    • Combines traditional scholarship with recent feminist criticism to present a significant new interpretation of the text
    • Explores the relationship between the female community of authors in the work and the Roman poetic community in which Ovid operated
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Laurel Fulkerson, in this original and intriguing new study, has granted Ovid's unique collection of epistles written by legendary women the benefit of her critical eye and scholarly acumen." - Teresa R. Ramsby, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    "This is a book for graduate students and scholars, it should arouse much interest in its readers. Fulkerson covers all the fifteen Heroides, using each chapter to compare poems and to present a special reading. It was a pleasure for me to read this well-printed volume." - William S. Anderson, University of California, Berkeley

    "Fulkerson's treatment of the Heroides is innovative in its attribution of a certain degree of power to these female characters, as readers and writers in an imaginary literary circle...[the] study if thorough, both in its knowledge of Ovidian scholarship and its close reading of the text. Her creative approach makes this work, bringing to life what was for a long time dismissed as Ovid's juvenile poetic venture."
    Valentina DeNardis, The Classical Bulletin

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521117814
    • length: 200 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.3kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Reading dangerously: Phyllis, Dido, Ariadne, and Medea
    2. Reading the future: Hypsipyle, Medea, and Oenone
    3. Benefits of communal writing: Canace and Hypermestra
    4. A feminine reading of epic: Briseis and Hermione
    5. Reading magically: Deianira and Laodamia
    6. Reading like a virgin: Phaedra and Ariadne
    7. Caveat lector: thoughts on gender and power
    Appendix A. The authenticity (and 'authenticity') of Heroides 15
    Index Locorum.

  • Author

    Laurel Fulkerson, Florida State University
    Laurel Fulkerson is Assistant Professor of Classics at the Florida State University. She is the author of various articles on Latin and Greek poetry.

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