The Getic Ovid in Prešeren and Politian: Literary Myth, Political Paradigm, Civilisatory Argument

  • Marko Marinčič University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts
Keywords: Latin literature, Slovenian literature, Italian literature, reception of classical literature


For France Prešeren, Ovid is an important literary model (Gazele[Ghazals]Ljubeznjeni soneti[Amorous Sonnets]) and the paradigm of an unhappy poet (Glosa). In fact, what has prompted some contemporary interpreters to read Ovid’s exile to Tomis as mere autobiographical fiction is Ovid’s own endeavour to endow his exile with a paradigmatic quality. The experience of the poet-exile, described in the Tristia andEpistulae ex Ponto, thus acquired the status of a literary myth in the early modern era; it was already Angelo Poliziano who additionally used it as a paradigm of great literary authority, which could be wielded by a contemporary poet-exile as an argument in his conflict with the prince or the state. Politian, who voluntarily withdrew from Florence for six months in 1479–80, applied Ovid’s exile in literary form to his own experience; his Epigram XXVII sounds the theme of his decline as an artist, which the prince may halt by recalling the poet from the barbarian country. Ovid himself attributed his artistic “decline” to his linguistic alienation, practically illustrating the latter with subtle stylistic devices (such as “stuttering”). Similarly, Prešeren’s German cycle, which was published in the Illyrisches Blatt and originally intended for publication in his Poems, may be read as a didactic staging of denationalisation; the first poem, which expressly alludes to Ovid, effectively portrays by reference to the Tristia the spontaneous, uncontrolled process of language assimilation. In this sense, the German cycle is both a warning, aimed at the half-Germanised bourgeoisie, and a self-ironic, metaliterary illustration of linguistic alienation in the poet’s home exile.


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How to Cite
Marinčič, Marko. 2010. “The Getic Ovid in Prešeren and Politian: Literary Myth, Political Paradigm, Civilisatory Argument”. Keria: Studia Latina Et Graeca 12 (2-3), 325-41.