True Names: Vergil and the Alexandrian Tradition of Etymological Wordlay

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University of Michigan Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 320 pages
In ancient thinking about etymology, knowledge of a term's origin meant knowledge of the essential qualities of the person, place, or thing it named. While scholars have long noted Vergil's allusions to etymologies, interest in such wordplay has grown rapidly in recent years and lies at the heart of contemporary scholarship's growing concern with the learned aspects and Alexandrian background of Vergilian poetry. In his new book, James O'Hara has produced a richly annotated, comprehensive collection of examples of etymological wordplay in the Aeneid, Eclogues, and Georgics. An extensive introduction on the etymologizing of Vergil and his poetic forerunners places the poet in historical context and analyzes the form and style of his wordplay. O'Hara also discusses how etymologizing served Vergil's poetic goals, and he explains how the role of word origins in Vergil's poems illuminates the origins and essential characteristics of the Roman people.

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Typical Features of Vergilian Etymological Wordplay
The Poetic Function of Vergilian Etymologizing

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