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Discourse Modes And The Use Of Tenses In Ovid's Metamorphoses

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Chapter Summary

There are many ways in which Ovid’s Metamorphoses differs from more prototypical manifestations of the epic genre like Vergil’s Aeneid. A widespread view for instance, elaborated in literary studies like Döscher (1971) and Solodow (1988) is that the narrative of the Metamorphoses is static and pictorial, especially when compared to the dynamic way of narrative presentation in the Aeneid. This chapter shows that this observation can be supported and qualified by a linguistic analysis of the internal coherence of a number of stories in the Metamorphoses. Firstly, it argues that in the Metamorphoses the discourse mode Description is used more pervasively and freely than in the Aeneid; and secondly, it tries to show that in the Metamorphoses, in contrast to what appears to be the case in the Aeneid, the advancement of the story usually takes its base in the time of the narrator and not in reference time.

Keywords: Aeneid; discourse mode; Metamorphoses; Ovid; Vergil



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