A song from the universal chorus

James Uden

in Forgotten Stars

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586462
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724961 | DOI:
A song from the universal chorus

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The Perseus and Andromeda episode in Manilius’ Astronomica (5.538-613) is an anomalous epyllion, downplaying the amatory themes prominent in the epyllion form and in other retellings of the myth. Manilius replaces human or mythological characters with elements from the personified natural world. The resulting vision of a powerful and sympathetic natural world acts as an imaginative counterpoint to Manilius’ account in the work as a whole of the universe that surrounds and controls us. Moreover, phrases and images from Manilius’ description of stars in the Perseus-Andromeda constellation group reappear in the epyllion, though often in an oblique and riddling way. Through this network of intratextual connection, the stars seem to exert their influences within the fabric of the poem itself, though, as always in astrology, this influence is not straightforward, but winding and oblique.

Keywords: Andromeda; astrology; epyllion; intratextuality; Manilius; myth; Perseus; personification; stars; sympathy

Chapter.  7516 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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