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The Ciris has received a certain amount of scholarly attention during the twentieth century, but on the whole has failed to meet with an adequate appreciation. This book aims to vindicate the Ciris, mainly by exploring its use of pre-Virgilian poetic texts largely ignored in previous scholarship.
The core of the book consists of a discursive literary commentary, divided into chapters that examine consecutively the poem's main narrative units. Viewing allusion and allegory as intrinsic features of poetic composition rather than mere artistic devices, the book explores, among more prominent intertexts, Apollonius' Argonautica and Callimachus' Hecale, Lucretius and Catullus 64. Allusions are also suggested to Homer and Empedocles, Theocritus, Moschus, and Bion, Nicander and Euphorion, Choerilus of Samos and Asius of Samos, Ennius and Cicero. Through its intricate web of references to poetic intertexts, the Ciris, it is argued, creates an implicit allegorical pattern with an original poetological message.
Allusion and Allegory is thus the first book-length study to offer a coherent literary interpretation of this controversial poem.
Boris Kayachev, University of Leeds, UK.
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