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Changing Metatexts and Changing Poetic Ideals

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Chapter Summary

Helius Eobanus Hessus was the first German to publish a collection of Latin eclogues, as he states in the beginning of his Bucolicon Idyllia from 1509. With a focus on Hessus's own considerations of conventions and poetics in metatexts, this chapter traces in the return to bucolic poetry a re-evaluation of Theocritus and a development in Hessus's poetic ideals. The chapter considers how Hessus deals with the traditional poetics of the bucolic genre, as conveyed by the late antique commentaries, in his return to bucolic poetry in late 1528. Hessus claims in his preface to Bucolicorum Idyllia that the re-issued version of his bucolic poems has a more serious tone than the earlier bucolic work, even though the primary model for the collection is the bucolic poetry of Theocritus. By returning to the original source of bucolic poetry, Hessus has effectively made himself part of the entire bucolic tradition.

Keywords: bucolic poetry; Bucolicon Idyllia; Helius Eobanus Hessus; metatexts; poetic ideals; Theocritus

10.1163/9789004260788_004
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