‘Turning others’ leaves’: imitatio and intertextuality in sixteenth-century English receptions of classical Latin love elegy

Grant, Linda (2014) ‘Turning others’ leaves’: imitatio and intertextuality in sixteenth-century English receptions of classical Latin love elegy. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis situates itself within the field of classical reception, and explores the appropriation and imitation of Latin erotic elegy (Catullus, Propertius, Ovid, Sulpicia) in the love poetry of sixteenth-century England. It shows imitatio to be a dynamic, rich and sophisticated practice, one which may be productively read as both a form of intertextuality and reception, terms which capture its contingent and active nature. The readings here re-calibrate Petrarch’s canzoniere suggesting that this influential sequence of love sonnets is itself a moralised re-writing of Roman erotic elegy. By re-framing the ‘Petrarchan’ love poetry of Thomas Wyatt, Philip Sidney, John Donne and Mary Sidney as elegiac receptions, the readings here re-open these familiar texts and offer fresh interpretations of how they can be made to mean. The introduction traces the presence of Latin love elegy in the early modern period, and shows that a modern scholarly over-reliance on Petrarch and Ovid has obscured the way Renaissance love poetry is also shaped by and through its relationships to the texts of Catullus, Propertius and Sulpicia. The four chapters which follow trace these intertextual relationships in detail through readings of a small number of poems: those of Catullus and Wyatt, Propertius and Sidney, Ovid and Donne, and Sulpicia and Mary Sidney. The interventions which this project makes are two-fold: firstly it applies modern theories of reception and intertextuality to Renaissance love poetry, and refreshes the way imitatio may be read. Secondly, it re-frames ‘Petrarchan’ love poetry of sixteenth-century England and reveals it to be a complex, subtle and sometimes revisionary re-writing of Latin love elegy. By reading the multiple concerns of elegy and its sometimes problematic uses of love, gender and erotic desire into the selected English texts, this project offers fresh interpretations of both bodies of poetry, and demonstrates that Roman elegy has a vital and complex presence in the poetics of sixteenth-century England.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: This thesis is not currently available for public use
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > History, Classics & Archaeology
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2014 09:54
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016 01:06
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/74

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