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Epic journeys: studies in the reception of the hero and heroism in Quintus Smyrnaeus’ Posthomerica

Boyten, B.; (2011) Epic journeys: studies in the reception of the hero and heroism in Quintus Smyrnaeus’ Posthomerica. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Quintus scholarship has experienced something of a renaissance over the last decade. However, it is now seventy years since the last monograph that focused on the Homeric heroes of his epic (Mansur, 1940). It is time for a reappraisal and this thesis, which utilizes modern theoretical techniques and methodologies, seeks to meet this need. My study is predominantly concerned with the reception of the hero in Quintus’ Posthomerica, but I also use these receptions to explore Quintus’ epic poetics. Unlike Mansur, I explore not only Homer’s heroes but also heroes that did not feature in the Iliad, including the narrator himself. In my Introduction, I consider central questions relating to Quintus and his poem; for instance, who was he? when was he working? did he have access to the Epic Cycle? and did he engage with Latin literature? A brief summary of my thesis chapters is also included. The five chapters are sequenced in such a way as to suggest thematic developments in my study, and Quintus’ work. Each chapter begins with a character study of the eponymous hero, I then view the characters as signifiers – embodiments of centrally important ideas, regarding epic and beyond. Chapter I: Penthesileia - after exploring Penthesileia’s aristeia, I consider wider issues of women, gender and epic anomaly. Chapter II: Achilleus - I view Achilleus in action, as the model for other heroes and in reminiscence. Chapter III: Nestor – Nestor (with other gerontes, like Priam) becomes a paradigm for multiple meanings of ‘diminishment’, and traditional inter-generational degeneration is inverted. Chapter IV: Neoptolemos – Achilleus’ son challenges the negative portrayals which dominated the tradition and shows himself to be more than a worthy heir both to Quintus’ and to Homer’s Achilleus. Chapter V: Primary Narrator - Quintus’ Narrator reveals himself as poet-hero throughout. I explore his language, learnedness and character, as Neoptolemos’ heir.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Epic journeys: studies in the reception of the hero and heroism in Quintus Smyrnaeus’ Posthomerica
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Greek and Latin

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