Ovid and the Modern Poetics of Exile

Stephen Harrison

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 and the Modern Poetics of Exile

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This chapter argues that the key Ovidian triangle of dislocation, political problems, and lamenting tone is often encountered in later versions of and allusions to Ovid’s exile poetry. This pattern is traced in poetry of the twentieth century, including Robert Lowell’s ‘Beyond the Alps’, Seamus Heaney’s ‘Exposure’ (which alludes specifically to Ovid’s Tristia), and Derek Walcott’s ‘The Hotel Normandie Pool’. The chapter ends with a detailed consideration of a very recent application of Ovidian poetics in Bob Dylan’s 2006 album Modern Times. Richard Thomas has persuasively shown that Dylan used Peter Green’s translation of the exile poems, but this chapter presents a more nuanced account which demonstrates that Dylan too engages with the Ovidian triangulation of dislocation, political issues, and lamentation.

Keywords: dislocation; political problems; lamentation; exile; Bob Dylan; Seamus Heaney; Robert Lowell; Derek Walcott

Chapter.  6188 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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