Redeeming the Text: Latin Poetry and the Hermeneutics of Reception

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Cambridge University Press, 1993 - History - 117 pages
This book applies some of the procedures of modern critical theory (in particular reception-theory, deconstruction, theories of dialogue and the hermeneutics associated with the German philosopher Gadamer) to the interpretation of Latin poetry. Charles Martindale argues, against the positivistic and historicist approaches still dominant within Latin studies, that we neither can nor should attempt to return to an 'original' meaning for ancient poems free from later accretions and the processes of appropriation; more traditional approaches to literary enquiry conceal a metaphysics (of the text-in-itself) which has been put in question by various anti-foundationalist accounts of the nature of meaning and the relationship between language and what it describes. From this perspective the author examines different readings of the poetry of Virgil, Ovid, Horace and Lucan, in order to suggest alternative ways in which those texts might more profitably be read. Finally he focuses on a key term for such study: 'translation', and examines the epistemological questions it raises and seeks to circumvent. He thus proposes a revised programme for the study of what we term 'antiquity', and a 'postmodern' poetics.

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