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The Roman Poetry of Love Elegy and Politics in a Time of Revolution by Efrossini Spentzou

The Roman Poetry of Love Elegy and Politics in a Time of Revolution

Part of the Classical World Series

RRP £14.99


The Roman Poetry of Love Elegy and Politics in a Time of Revolution by Efrossini Spentzou

The Roman Poetry of Love explores the formation of a key literary genre in a troubled historical and political setting. The short-lived genre of Latin love elegy produced spectacular, multi-faceted and often difficult poetry. Its proponents Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid remain to this day some of the most influential poetic voices of Western civilisation. This accessible introduction combines aesthetic analysis with socio-political context to provide a concise but comprehensive portrait of the Roman elegy, its main participants and its cultural and political milieu. Focusing on a series of specific poems, the title portrays the development of the genre in the context of the Emperor Augustus' ascent to power, following recognizable threads through the texts to build an understanding of the relationship between this poetry and the increasingly totalising regime. Highlighting and examining the intense affectation of love in these poems, The Roman Poetry of Love explores the works not simply as an expression of a troubled male psychology, but also as a reflection of the overwhelming changes that swept through Rome and Italy in the transition from the late Republic to the Augustan Age.


This is an introduction to Latin love elegy with an edge. By highlighting the emotions expressed in the poems, Efi Spentzou takes us beyond the mere techniques of poetical composition into the imaginary world of the elegiac lover and sets it in its turbulent historical context, the second half of the first century BCE. By close readings she examines how each poet responds to the times, leaving the reader with a sharper appreciation of the relationship of the poetry to the age and the differences between the poets within the conventions of the genre. -- Alan Beale teaches Latin at Newcastle University, UK, directs the Durham Latin and Greek Summer School, and is joint reviews editor for the Journal of Classics Teaching. The author's own passion for Roman love poetry clearly comes through in this elegant and erudite libellus. -- Genevieve Liveley, Senior Lecturer in Classics, Bristol University, UK A stylish and pioneering study, provocative and informative in equal measure. Spentzou shows us how and why Roman elegy still richly repays its readers. -- Roger Rees, Reader in Latin, University of St Andrews, UK.

About the Author

Efrossini Spentzou is Senior Lecturer in Latin Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th October 2013


Efrossini Spentzou

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Bloomsbury Academic an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


128 pages


Literary studies: classical, early & medieval
Literary studies: poetry & poets



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