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Studies of reception‐history are studies of the reading, interpretation, appropriation, use, and abuse of past texts over the centuries, reception‐theory the theory underpinning such studies. All interpretation is held to take place within history, and to be subject to the contingencies of its historical moment; there is no permanently ‘correct’ reading of a text. Reception‐theory stresses the importance of the reader, within the triangle writer–text–reader, for the construction of meaning. So Horace, as a man, as a body of texts, as an authority for different ways of living, has been diversely read in the west over the last 500 years, by scholars, poets, and ‘men of letters’, and our current images are shaped in response to that reception‐history.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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