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Innovation and Artistry in Phaedrus’ Morals

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In his creative and original deployment of the ‘morals’ attached to his fables, Phaedrus boldly asserts his independence from the prosaic fable tradition and embeds his work within the framework of a broadly fictionalized poetic career. While pro- and epimythia in Phaedrus have attracted scholarly attention as aides in calculating his chronology or deciphering his perspective on life in Rome, Phaedrian ‘morals’ do more than express a particular historical or socio-political outlook. Indeed, in his morals Phaedrus repeatedly challenges the idea that fables carry any universal or even coherent meaning, and in so doing he transforms the traditional framing devices into sites for the development of his complex poetic persona.

Affiliations: 1: Swarthmore College, Department of Classics SwartmoreUSA


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