On Love

Genevieve Liveley

in Romans and Romantics

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588541
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741845 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

On Love

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This chapter explores an unexpected affinity between Romans and Romantics ‘on love’. It shows that one Roman poet in particular appears repeatedly reflected in the writings of the English Romantic poets (Coleridge, Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, Byron, Keats) on the subject of love: Ovid, in his Amores, Ars Amatoria, and his Metamorphoses offers an uncannily Romantic image of love — not least of all in his representation of Narcissus. Challenging received readings in which Narcissus is seen as a figure for aesthetic, poetic, and emotional superficiality, it is argued that the Romantic reception of Narcissus reveals hidden depths to this Roman figure, whose love for his own image rather represents a desire for beauty, poetry, and sympathy — a Romantic Narcissus who holds up a mirror to show Romans themselves reflecting Romantics ‘on love’.

Keywords: Byron; Coleridge; Keats; Love; Narcissus; Ovid; Romans; Romantics; Percy Shelley; Wordsworth

Chapter.  6108 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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