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The 'epic' of Martial

Sapsford, Francesca May (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the composition and arrangement of Martial’s twelve-book series, the Epigrams. I investigate the way in which key themes combine to create a pseudo-narrative for the reader to follow which connects not only individual books but the series as a whole. This twelve-book series creates an ’anti-epic’, something which is meant to be considered as a whole and read, and reread, as such. In the course of investigating the inter- and intratextual links within the Epigrams, we see how Martial’s corpus instructs its reader on how (and even where) to read the text. In doing so Martial is engaging with a literary discourse at the end of the first century on different patterns of reading. The key themes explored, oral sex and os impurum, food and dining, and a literary theme comprised of reading and writing, all form part of this programmatic literary instruction to the reader. I have identified the importance of ’orality’ within the Epigrams as part of the defined method of reading. Applying concepts from Reader-Response theory,and thinking about the way readers read, we can see that Martial’s books of epigrams are more than the sum of their parts.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Nisbet, Gideon
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Institute of Archaelogy and Antiquity
Subjects:CB History of civilization
D051 Ancient History
PA Classical philology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3671
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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