NARRATIVE STRUCTURE AND POETICS IN THE
AENEID. THE FRAME OF BOOK 6
settembre 1998, pp. 210, £. 42.000
The aim of this work is to examine what is, at first
sight, a curious situation. Book 6, the most important book of the Aeneid, strategically
placed in the middle of the Roman epic, is framed by passages of small narrative
importance. Yet, their structural and thematic correspondence as well as their
intertextual function show that the middle of Aeneid, as the middle of the Bucolics and
the Georgics for the matter, is a locus for poetic discourse on the part of the poet.
Since the narrative of the eroic epic does not lend itself to such a treatment, Vergil had
to allude to his views on poetics through the various myths involved at the end of Book 5
and the beginning of Book 7. With the technique of the Callimachean signum and an
accumulation of other features at these preselected narrative points, Vergil alludes to
his rejection of previous poetic practices and themes. The arrival at the Tiber seems to
be the other passage partaking in this discourse. Here, the poet by using the same methods
as in the previous passages, alludes to the importance of the local poetic elements for
the development of his Roman theme in the second half of his epic. Finally, the delayed
poem brings his voice to the fore. To the name of the Muse Erato a new interpretative view
is suggested. Together with the context and position of the proem the Muse's name seems to
highlight Vergil's own contribution to the narrative and pride in undertaking the
composition of a Roman epic within the norms of epic tradition.
Contents: Preface - Introduction - The division into books - Refutatio: A.
Palinurus and the Sirens; B. Caieta and Circe - The new locus amoenus - The invocation
and the proem - Bibliography - Indexes
Cover picture: in the middle, Servius is pointing
to Vergil, on the right. The armed hero next to Servius is Aeneas. Detail from the
allegorical miniature by Simone Martini, in the famous Vergil of Petrarca, Milan,
Biblioteca Ambrosiana, A 79 Inf., F. 1v (= picture 180 in Vedere i classici,
Palombi, Rose, Roma 1996, pg 258).