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Grant number like: FA-50138-04

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Kathryn J. Gutzwiller
University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH 45220-2872)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2004 – 5/31/2005

The Poetics of Anthology: An Edition and Commentary for the Epigrams of Meleager

Meleager's Garland, an anthology of Greek literary epigrams so dazzling in its rich complexity that it came to replace earlier single-authored collections, contained over 125 of Meleager's own epigrams. Mostly erotic in nature, these poems not only vary in imaginative ways the themes and motifs of earlier epigrams, they also foreshadow the moving personal tone of Roman poetry. Despite his pivotal position as a transmitter of epigram and erotic verse to the Greco-Roman period, Meleager has not received the scholarly attention accorded other major Hellenistic poets. My project--the first critical edition, translation, and scholarly commentary devoted exclusively to Meleager in nearly 200 years--provides an essential first step in reassessing his poetic contribution. Current interest in the phenomenon of "being Greek under Rome" has created a need for this type of study, in which a thorough reevaluation of the text is combined with focus on the poems' contexts, both literary and cultural. By placing emphasis on visual images, social practices, material culture, changing erotic attitudes, and evolving psychological and philosophical views, my aim is to update the standard commentary from through attention to the cultural framework. This comprehensive study, offering a reading of each of Meleager's epigrams, will document his pervasive influence upon late Republican and Augustan poetry, by identifying and discussing key allusions in the poetry books of Catullus, Vergil, Propertius, and others. By focus on the personal and particular, by the effect of revealing passion through wit, Meleager's epigrams have direct appeal to many educated persons; one goal of this commentary, accessible to students and general readers through its translations and discussions, is to stimulate a greater awareness of the charm and importance of Meleager's poetry.