Tenses in Vergil's Aeneid

Narrative Style and Structure


The narrative style of the Aeneid suggests immediacy and involves the reader, while at the same time both narrator and reader know what the outcomes of the story will be. In ‘Tenses in Vergil’s Aeneid: Narrative Style and Structure’, Suzanne Adema investigates the role of the Latin tenses in this presentational style. Adema presents a framework to analyze and describe the use of tenses in Latin narrative texts from a linguistic and narratological point of view. The framework concerns the temporal relations between a narrator and the states of affairs in his story on the sentence level, discourse modes on the global text level and narrative progression on the level of narrative and descriptive sequences.

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Biographical Note

Suzanne M. Adema is Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Her publications are characterized by a combined narratological and linguistic approach to Latin epic and historiography. She coordinates a research project on Greek and Latin Learning and Instruction.

Table of contents

Preface List of Tables
1 Introduction   1  Tense in the Aeneid   2  Approach and Outline of This Book
2 Latin Tenses in Narrative Texts   1  Temporal Relation between Narrator and State of Affairs   2  Narrative Temporal Progression   3  Text Structure and Discourse Modes   4  The Sequence as a Unit, Methods of Analysis   5  Conclusions
3 Praesens   1  Semantic Value of the Present Tense   2  Pseudo-simultaneous Narrative   3  Description Mode   4  Report Mode   5  Information Mode   6  Conclusion
4 Perfectum   1  Semantic Value of the Perfect Tense   2  Narrative Mode   3  (Pseudosimultaneous Description   4  Report Mode   5  Information Mode   6  Conclusion   7  A Perfect Tense for Perfect Beings?
5 Imperfectum   1  Semantic Value of the Imperfect Tense   2  Narrative Mode   3  Description Mode   4  Information Mode   5  The Imperfect Subjunctive for Counterfactuals   6  Conclusion
6 Plusquamperfectum   1  Semantic Value of the Pluperfect Tense   2  Narrative Mode   3  Description   4  Information   5  The Pluperfect Subjunctive   6  Conclusion
7 Future Tenses   1  Base in Time of Narration: Narratorial Announcements and Hopes   2  Base in Time of a Character’s Narration: Great Expectations and Prophecies   3  Base in Reference Time: Displaced Immediacy   4  Conclusion
8 Historical Infinitive   1  Semantic Value of the Historical Infinitive   2  The Retrospective Narrative Mode   3  Pseudo-simultaneous Narrative   4  Pseudo-simultaneous Description   5  Conclusion
9 Tenses in the Narrative Style and Structure of the Aeneid   1  Narrative   2  Description Mode   3  Report Mode   4  Information Mode   5  Displaced Immediacy in the Aeneid   6  Latin Tenses as a Feature of Narrative Style and Structure
Bibliography Index Rerum Index Locorum


This book is intended for both linguists interested in Latin or tense usage in narrative texts and for scholars interested in Vergil’s narrative style and structure.

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