Journal Article

Gift and the Personal Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus

Stephen D'Evelyn

in Literature and Theology

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 1-10
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frl058
Gift and the Personal Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus

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The personal poetry of the sixth-century Venantius Fortunatus, who also composed the great hymn ‘Pange lingua gloriosa’, has not been studied in any detail. The particular group of poems that were sent along with gifts to Fortunatus’ friends Radegund and Agnes have received no comment. These poems, however, give us insight into the friendship of Fortunatus and the two high-born religious women, and suggest that the poetry of gift-exchange is not trivial even when the gifts are trifles of food or flowers. By way of a close reading of three of Fortunatus’ poems in light of theological and social ideas about gift, this article tests how assumptions about the creation of obligation and assertion of the dominance of man as donor over woman as recipient may be re-evaluated. This essay is based upon one delivered at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association in 2003.

Journal Article.  4248 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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