Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Among the rich variety of approaches to the study of Vergil's arte allusiva one finds at least one, quite understandable, common element-namely, an overriding concern with the text itself as the dominant locus of meaning. This is true of Professor Conte's earlier work, at any rate, as well as of those who stress the philological Alexandrian attitude towards poetic composition,2 and even of the more traditionalist school.3 Indeed, it is fair to say that in our discipline the process of literary allusion-a process read by different scholars as yielding radically divergent interpretations of individual poems-is fundamentally a process that involves the transformation of texts. This means that the process of allusion is conceived as something that the creative intelligence of the poet works, actively and deliberately, upon the relatively inert material of an existing text in order to produce meaning. For Conte, of course, the process is somewhat different: agency is located in a zone that hovers between the text itself and the readers, who are given a role that is at least equal to that of the author in the production of allusive meaning. But in all cases, I think, it is fair to say that what is at issue remains the transformation of texts. The agent of transformation may differ, but the concern with the form of the text remains paramount.

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Date Posted: 12 December 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.