First published in 1988, this study explains how certain genres created by Classical poets were adapted and sometimes transformed by the poets of the modern world, beginning with the Tudor poets’ rediscovery of the Classical heritage. Most of the long-lived poetic genres are discussed, from familiar examples like the hymn, elegy and eulogy, to less familiar topics such as the recusatio (refusal to write certain kinds of poems), or formal structures such as priamel. By combining criticism with literary history, the author explores the degree to which certain poets were consciously imitating models, and demonstrates how various generic forms reflect the literary concerns of individual poets as well as the general concerns of their age. The poets discussed range over the whole of Graeco-Roman antiquity, and in English from Wyatt to Yeats and Auden. A detailed and fascinating title, this study will appeal to teachers and students of both English and Classical literature.
Table of Contents
Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Modifying the Poetic Tradition: The Recusatio 2. Introducing a Subject: The Priamel 3. Poetry and the Visual Arts: The Ekphrasis 4. The Rhetoric of Lament and Consolation 5. The Argument of Carpe-diem Poems 6. Forms of Persuasion in Hymns 7. Praise and Counsel: Eulogy; Conclusion; Additional Examples; Select Bibliography; Index of Authors and Works; Index of Subjects