Voce voco. Some Text Linguistic Observations on Ovid Heroides 10

in Mnemosyne
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In his article Voce voco. Ariadne in Ovids Heroides und die ‘weibliche Stimme’ (Mnemosyne, this issue), Christoph Pieper proposes a metapoetic interpretation of Ovid Heroides 10 in terms of a gradual awakening (and subsequent faltering) of Ariadne’s literary voice. The present contribution serves as a supplement to this article, in that it provides some text linguistic support for this metapoetic reading. In a linguistically and narratologically oriented discussion of the structure of Heroides 10, it is shown how epic and elegy literally merge in this poem, for instance by means of an ingenious mixing of discourse modes and time frames, and a subtle play with the inherent ambiguity of the present tense. The analysis reveals by which formal means the poet manages to reconcile all of Ariadne’s different roles and perspectives in the poem (epistolary speaker, epic speaker, elegiac speaker, narrative character), and integrate them, by way of literary experiment, in one coherent text.


A Journal of Classical Studies



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Cf. also Knox 1995, 235.


Adema 2008, 83-4. Adema counts 51 instances of an imperfect verb form with a ‘framing’ function in the Aeneid.


To use the terminology of Chafe (1994), the immediate narrative mode is replaced by a displaced narrative mode.


Cf. Knox 1995, 238: “O.’s Ariadne is a convincing narrator who explains why she is able to see at this hour”. In terms of the ‘discourse modes’ used, we could say that with luna fuit the narrative (or diegetic) discourse mode is temporarily replaced by the discursive mode. For the difference between narrative mode and discursive mode, see below. The Latin perfect tense may occur in both modes. In order to distinguish between both uses, the former use of the perfect is sometimes referred to as the ‘narrative perfect’, the latter as the ‘authorial perfect’.


Cf. Kroon & Risselada 2004, on the basis of Chausserie-Laprée 1969, 497-517. We also find the imperfect tense in this technique.


Cf. Kroon 2007, 78-81.


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