Ovid on the Channel Islands

Fiona Cox

in Two Thousand Years of Solitude

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603848
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731587 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Ovid on the Channel Islands

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Much critical attention has been directed towards Ovid’s appearance as an archetypal exilic figure in nineteenth century France (in Chateaubriand, Verlaine, Delacroix, and Baudelaire), yet Ovidian intertexts in Victor Hugo’s writing from exile have been overlooked. Exiled from France in 1851, Hugo spent the next nineteen years on the Channel Islands, gazing across the sea to France; Hugo’s debt to Ovid is evident elsewhere in his work, most notably in Les Misérables, although his exilic work expresses political hostility towards the exiled Ovid. But it is in his own life story that his greatest debt to the Tristia is apparent, and this chapter presents Hugo as the nineteenth century’s most potent embodiment of Ovid in exile, lamenting his exilic death and constantly looking back to the fatherland, and considers why Hugo’s presence in the history of Ovidian reception has been so overlooked.

Keywords: nineteenth-century France; Victor Hugo; political; archetypal exilic figure; exile; death

Chapter.  6263 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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