BMCR 2005.04.61

Ars adeo latet arte sua. Riflessioni sull’intertestualità ovidiana. Le Metamorfosi

, , Ars adeo latet arte sua : riflessioni sull'intertestualità ovidiana : Le metamorfosi. Leuconoe ; 3. Palermo: Flaccovio, 2003. 161 pages ; 21 cm.. ISBN 8878042331 €15.00.

Unless it escaped my notice, the verse of the title, Met. 10.252, is not cited in this collection of essays from a conference on Ovid’s Metamorphoses held in Palermo in January 2003. The subtitle is also misleading: of the seven essays, the first three are concerned with narrative and only the last four reflect on Ovidian intertextuality. This volume marks the first stage in what is announced as a systematic journey through the complete corpus of Ovid via conference and published proceedings. Conferences on the Fasti (2004) and the Ars Amatoria (2005) have already been held and the Fasti volume appeared last year. For the most recent ventures, the organizers have reached beyond Palermo’s walls (five of the seven speakers at the first conference came from that city’s university) and invited Ovidians from Germany, Great Britain, and the United States. The book under review is for scholars working on narrative in the Metamorphoses and intertextuality in Ovid, Vergil, and Homer. What follows is a brief summary of the essays as they appear in the collection.

Paolo Esposito, “I segnali della metamorfosi.” Esposito makes a preliminary attempt at a grammar of metamorphosis. He focuses on the language Ovid uses to represent the process of change and is especially interested in the moment of indeterminacy between what exists before and what comes after (il non più ma non ancora). This essay lays the groundwork for Esposito’s future research into the linguistic and formal signs that sustain the narrative logic of change in the Metamorphoses.

Luciano Landolfi, “Posse loqui eripitur (Ov. Met. 2, 438). Perdita di parola, perdita d’identità nelle Metamorfosi.” Landolfi analyzes the loss of speech that results from change in form, and his essay responds to G. Tronchet’s analysis of the same problem in La métamorphose à l’oeuvre (Louvain-Paris 1998). He finds that a loss of identity accompanies the loss of speech and that metamorphosis in Ovid often involves a double alienation from both the original species and the new: what is lost is forever caught in between.

Paolo Monella, “Deriguit malis (Ov. Met. 6, 303). Litomorfosi e antropomorfosi nell’epos ovidiano.” Monella compares Yuri Shcheglov’s observations on Ovid’s narrative technique in the Metamorphoses (orig. 1962 [ital. 1969]) with Emilio Pianezzola’s recent study: Ovidio. Modelli retorici e forme narrative (Bologna 1999). Monella accepts much of Shcheglov’s strict typological-structural matrix, especially as it pertains to landscape and the language of place, but he has greater affinity for Pianezzola’s broader appreciation for the connotative aspects of Ovid’s language. His own analysis of Ovidian usage is just, but at times undercut by the Italian translation (e.g. 61 Met. 1.400) and he leaves some important information for the development of his argument in the notes (e.g. 5, 7, 34).

Sergio Casali, “L’errore di Anchise e altre correzioni ovidiane all’Eneide.” Casali puts Ovid in the role of grammaticus in Met. 13, where the poet interprets Vergil by correcting six episodes in Aen. 3: Polydorus (Aen. 3.19-68, Met. 13.628-630), Auster (Aen. 3.60-72, Met. 13.630-631), Anius on Delos (Aen. 3.78-86, Met. 13.632-639), Anchises’ blunder (Aen. 3.102-109, Met. 13.705-708), Anius’ daughters (Met. 13.644-674), and the Harpies (Aen. 3.192-269, Met. 13.709-710).

Marianna Patti, “Agnoscis Ceyca, miserrima coniunx? (Ov. Met. 11, 658). Il sogno di Alcione come tributo normativo all’epos.” Patti shows how Ovid looks to Homer to construct Alcyone’s dream, and she finds new elegiac elements in the Ceyx-Alcyone episode. At times, however, her argument is rushed (e.g. the footnotes can cover more than half a printed page), and this essay appears to suffer from the alacrity with which the editors have expedited the transition from conference to book.

Valentina Chinnici, “Fit lapis et servat serpentis imagine saxum (Ov. Met. 12, 23). Ovidio tra Omero e Cicerone.” This is the finest essay in the collection: where Cicero imports Homer into de div. for antiphrasis, Ovid draws on Cicero to integrate the Homeric text thematically.

Alfredo Casamento, “Tutius est igitur fictis contendere verbis (Ov. Met. 13, 9). Aiace, Ulisse e i πάθη dell’oratore.” Casamento seems to have missed Chinnici’s point on Homer and does not cast his net wide enough over the Homeric text. For instance, he does not analyze the litai in Il. 9, a crucial intertext for understanding that Ovid’s Ulysses is successful precisely because he appropriates the rhetorical appeal to emotion used by Homer’s Ajax.1


1. This is a tidy and affordable paperback with no index and only the occasional typographical errors: e.g. 30 conatus a loqui, 65 n. 13 de se se produire, 70 n. 23 Pithagoras, 110 n. 23 ἐλεφαίπω, 120 n. 5 Traglia and Jocelyn not in bibliography, where Galasso hides under Perutelli.