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Chapter 2 - Speaking Aposiopeseis

The (Generic) Sound of Silence in Statius’ Thebaid*

from Part I - Absence in Text

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 September 2021

Tom Geue
Affiliation:
University of St Andrews, Scotland
Elena Giusti
Affiliation:
University of Warwick
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Summary

Despite the many studies devoted to aposiopesis in Latin poetry, a deeper insight into this rhetorical figure in Statius’ Thebaid is called for. This paper argues that Statius is the first to use such a figure of speech extensively in Latin epic and does so in his poem also marking programmatic loci, teasing out a tension between the epic and other literary genres, otherwise said between the Thebaid itself and the ones before it (see e.g. Theb. 4, 516; 8, 60; 7, 210; 12, 301; 380–5). By discussing some of the most relevant points, my paper highlights Statius’ programmatic use of aposiopesis: it shows the poet’s choice to avoid deviations to other poetic genres – such as tragedy or elegy – in his epic, in contexts where such contaminations would not be suitable. Moreover, the paper argues that aposiopesis is a relevant intertextual link between the Thebaid and Statius’ poetic background: we are dealing with silent challenges which further develop Statius’ meta-poetic discourse on generic interactions and literary memory.

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Unspoken Rome
Absence in Latin Literature and its Reception
, pp. 35 - 46
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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