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Bringing Up The Rear: Continuity And Change In The Latin Poetry Of Late Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

The Latin literature of Late Antiquity is abundant and diverse. The period was one of generic innovation and experimentation in which a changed conceptual world gave rise to correspondingly new forms of expression. This chapter limits to one specific area of late Latin literary production, that of poetry. It is a form of literature that makes an especially interesting test case for questions of continuity and change in Late Antiquity. The chapter is framed by two poets from the period, both of whom have been described as ‘the last classical poet,’ Claudian, at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, and Venantius Fortunatus, second half of the sixth century. The wording suggests in each case a perceived break from the classical past. Examination of this perception, first in the case of Claudian, provides an approach to issues of continuity and discontinuity in Late Antiquity.

Keywords: Claudian; Late Antiquity; Latin literature; poetry; Venantius Fortunatus



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