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Horace's Poetic Journey

Horace's Poetic Journey: A Reading of Odes 1-3

DAVID H. PORTER
Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zv948
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  • Book Info
    Horace's Poetic Journey
    Book Description:

    David Porter's approach to Horace's most important lyric collection is through a close sequential reading of the eighty-eight poems in Odes 1-3. Taking into account the way an ancient book was read or recited, this view of the work as a continuously unfolding creation reveals a strong sense of forward movement and of thematic development, at times almost a narrative flow.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5855-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF DIAGRAMS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xiii-2)
    David H. Porter
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-9)

    The purpose of this study of Horace,Odes1–3 is to present a reading that concentrates on the structure and movement of the collection as a whole—how the parts relate to each other, how one poem leads into another, one section into the next, above all how different themes progress and develop as the collection unrolls. There are many internal indications that Horace intended the collection to be seen as a single architectural entity, among them the obvious balance of its outside poems, 1.1 and 3.30; the clear grouping of certain large sections by metrical principles—1.1–12,...

  7. CHAPTER I THE ARCHITECTURE OF ODES 1–3
    (pp. 10-55)

    Horace begins the final poem ofOdes1–3 by speaking of his creation in architectural terms:

    Exegi monumentum aere perennius

    regalique situ pyramidum altius . . .

    (3.30.1–2)

    It is accordingly but appropriate that the poetic monument he has built displays an intricate architectural form, a structure at times as straightforward and monumental as that of the pyramids themselves, at other times as subtle and complex as the relationship of the Parthenon to the Erechtheum. All of the Augustan poets arrange their works along architectural lines—one thinks at once of Vergil’sEclogues, Georgics,andAeneid,of Propertius’s...

  8. CHAPTER II BOOK 1: THE RESTORATION OF COURAGE
    (pp. 56-105)

    The balanced symmetries that were our subject in Chapter I suggest a static architectural quality inOdes1–3 that is only part of the story. These symmetries are there, and they are the necessary underpinning for the more dynamic relationships that are our subject in the remainder of this book. But just as in a Bach fugue or a Beethoven sonata the listener’s (or the performer’s) attention is less likely to focus on the underlying structure, integral as that structure is to the composition, than on the ongoing surge and flow of the music, the accompanying sense of progression...

  9. CHAPTER III BOOK 2: DEATH AND POETRY
    (pp. 106-150)

    We have seen that the overall pattern of Book 1 contains in its first half a gradual retreat from the great issues raised in the opening poems, in its second half a gradual return toward such issues. National themes, powerfully introduced by 1.2 but merely touched upon in the center section of the book, begin again to become focal in the final poems (1.35 and 1.37). Man’s mortality, a theme dramatically sounded in 1.3 and 1.4 but increasingly submerged in subsequent poems of the first and second groups, again emerges as a central concern (1.24, 1.28, 1.35), and basic moral...

  10. CHAPTER IV BOOK 3: ROME, AUGUSTUS, AND HORACE
    (pp. 151-214)

    In every respect the end of Book 2 has prepared for what comes at the start of Book 3. The growing magnitude of the poems within 2.13–20 leads directly into the unprecedented size of 3.1–6, the predominance of the Alcaic in these same eight poems to the sole presence of this meter in the Roman Odes, the soaring confidence of thevatesin 2.20 to the hieratic tones with which theMusarum sacerdosbegins Book 3. 2.13–20 also point the way for the Roman Odes in their density, their concentrated energy, and their moral urgency. Purely erotic...

  11. CHAPTER V THEMES AND PATTERNS OF ODES 1–3: A RETROSPECTIVE LOOK
    (pp. 215-253)

    If the pattern of each book consists of an initial decline and a concluding rise, that of the collection as a whole contains a long initial decline that extends through much of Book 1, a gradual rise that reaches an all-time peak at the end of Book 2 and the start of Book 3, a sharp fall following the Roman Odes, and a gradual rise toward the more modest heights of 3.25–30. As is so often the case, the relative lengths of poems throughout the collection suggest, albeit imperfectly, both the falling, then rising movement of each book and...

  12. EPILOGUE. THE LARGER CONTEXT: EPODES, ODES 1–3, ODES 4
    (pp. 254-274)

    In conclusion we may briefly viewOdes1–3 in the larger context of Horace’s total lyric output. In composition and publication the collection falls chronologically between theEpodes,which Horace completed around 30 B.C., andOdes4, which Horace completed probably in 13 B.C., and we shall see thatOdes1–3 stands midway between these two other collections also in theme, tone, and movement. Since our purpose here in looking at these two other collections is only to suggest what light they cast onOdes1–3, we shall examine them briefly and focus on one aspect only,...

  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 275-278)
  14. INDEX TO POEMS DISCUSSED
    (pp. 279-281)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 282-282)