Synopses & Reviews
"James shapes a new and original understanding of elegy. The author's agenda of foregrounding the viewpoint of the docta puella
should stimulate major changes in the way that these poems are studied."and#151;Judith P. Hallett, University of Maryland, College Park
"James provides a highly original reading of the elegiac genre. Her use of the docta puella as the focalizing point of her reading provides new insight into its fundamental natureand#133;. The book would serve as an excellent introduction to the genre for undergraduates."and#151;Paul Allen Miller, author of Latin Erotic Elegy: An Anthology and Reader
"Learned Girls and Male Persuasion should be required reading for anyone teaching or studying the elegists. . . . [Sharon James] views the genre in the light of social reality, showing us what is ubiquitous and obvious in the poems if we take off the rose-colored glasses of romantic idealism: the facts of violence, rape, and abortion, and, above all, the fundamental tension between the erotic demands of the lover and the economic needs of the puella. Elegy will never be the same again."and#151;Julia Gaisser, author of Catullus and his Renaissance Readers
Includes bibliographical references (p. 323-335) and indexes.
This study transforms our understanding of Roman love elegy, an important and complex corpus of poetry that flourished in the late first century b.c.e. Sharon L. James reads key poems by Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid for the first time from the perspective of the woman to whom they are addressedand#151;the docta puella, or learned girl, the poet's beloved. By interpreting the poetry not, as has always been done, from the stance of the elite male writersand#151;as plaint and confessionand#151;but rather from the viewpoint of the womenand#151;thus as persuasion and attempted manipulationand#151;James reveals strategies and substance that no one has listened for before.
About the Author
Sharon L. James is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Table of Contents
Pt. 1 -- Concepts, structures, and characters in Roman love elegy -- Introduction: approaching elegy -- Men, women, poetry, and money: the material bases and social backgrounds of elegy -- Pt. 2 -- The material girls and the arguments of elegy; or, The docta puella reads elegy -- Against the greedy girl; or, The docta puella does not live by elegy alone -- Characters, complaints, and the stations of the lover; or, Adventures and laments in elegy -- Pt. 3 -- Problems of gender and genre, text and audience, in Roman love elegy -- Necessary female beauty and generic male resentment: reading elegy through Ovid -- Poetry, politics, sex, status: how the docta puella serves elegy.