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Banalization and Redemption: Martial's Catullus and Ovid; Burmeister's Martial

Banalization and Redemption: Martial's Catullus and Ovid; Burmeister's Martial

Chapter:
(p.167) Chapter Six Banalization and Redemption: Martial's Catullus and Ovid; Burmeister's Martial
Source:
Martial
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226252568.003.0007

This chapter looks at the dual capacity of the epigram to diminish and to exalt, but in the context of intertextual relations. It moves from Martial's banalizations of Catullus to neo-Latin poet Johannes Burmeister's redemption of Martial, via Martial's repatriation of the exiled Ovid. It considers a very important model, though not one whom Martial explicitly acknowledges as such, namely Ovid, and particularly the Ovid of the exile poetry. This chapter is concerned with the relation between different poetic worlds as the later poet reads the precursor through his own very different context. It subjects Catullus's urbanities to a banalizing urbanization and recalls Ovid the exile as Martial adapts Ovidian motifs to the more fortunate circumstances of the client poet. It also examines Burmeister's Christian version, in parallel text, of the entire oeuvre of Martial, raising the question of whether there is such a thing as a parody upward rather than downward. It shows how Martial injects the sprawl of urban life into the tight little world of Catullan urbanity.

Keywords:   Martial, epigram, banalizations, Catullus, Johannes Burmeister, Ovid, exile poetry, urbanization, parody, urban life

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