In a poem written in exile, Ovid pictures his latest book in conversation with his previous volumes, united in the bookcase containing his collected works back in Rome. One can imagine their dialogue - in the protected space of the whispering bookcase - as loaded with allusion and intertextuality. This collection of essays by the classicist Alessandro Barchiesi examines Ovid and his 'rationalistic art of illusion' along with intertextuality in Latin literature more generally, and in the wider context of the Graeco-Roman tradition.
The book provides perspectives on the literary self-consciousness of the Latin poets, the allusive density of their texts, and the conflict between poetry and power in the Augustan age. The conflict between classicists and the texts they comment on, argue over and theorise about is also examined. Among the recurring topics in this book are the impact of intertextuality on the form of epic and epistle, the strategic significance of allusive poetics in a political context, and the importance of reading and interpretation as poetic themes.