By an oversight, issue no.1 of this new journal was not reviewed in BMCR when it emerged in 2006 (it has been followed by three subsequent issues). Dictynna is a significant bi-annual journal connected with the lively European network for the study of Augustan poetry, based at the University of Lille and involving Oxford, Cambridge, Florence, Rome, Heidelberg, Geneva and several other European centres for the subject (I should declare an interest as the Oxford representative of the network, but I am not formally connected with the journal). Like other major continental journals in classics such as Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici, it looks to reach well beyond the continent; its editorial board includes scholars from the US and Canada, and articles in English are most welcome (as well as French, German and Italian); other issues have included contributions from Kirk Freudenburg, Judy Hallett, Stephen Hinds and Alison Keith.
This first issue can be taken as fairly representative of the journal’s contents. Here I will merely give a brief summary of each piece, but readers are assured of a high quality of scholarship and a focus on the central texts of Latin poetry, largely of the Augustan period, engaging mostly with literary and intertextual issues.
Tradition, vraisemblance et autorité fictionnelle – Alain DEREMETZ (Lille). Looks at the use of the first person in Latin epic, differentiating it e.g. from the ‘I’ of satire, history and novel, and concludes that Latin epic poets use it to show a concern with notions of probability and practicality and to define their own poetic authority.
Vergil’s on nature : Georgics 2, 458-542 : Vergil, Aratus and Empedocles- Damien NELIS (Geneva). The case for Empedoclean influence on the ending of Georgics 2 is argued with close and detailed analysis.
‘Nyctegresiae Romanae’ Exégèse homérique et retractatio de la Dolonie chez Virgile et Ovide – Jean-Christophe JOLIVET (Lille). Looks at the reworking of the Dolon episode of Iliad 10 in Aeneid 9 and Metamorphoses 13.
Tibulle 1,4 : l’élégie et la tradition de la poésie didactique – Jacqueline FABRE-SERRIS (Lille). Considers Tibullus 1.4 and its ironic and cynical development of a didactic stance in an elegiac context which looks forward to Ovid’s Ars Amatoria.
Quelques réflexions sur un vers des Héroïdes (Hér., XXI, 123) – Catherine FRECHET (Créteil). Discusses the ironies and significance of the phrase verba dare in the mouth and situation of Ovid’s Cydippe.
Approximative Similes in Ovid. Incest and Doubling – Philip HARDIE (Cambridge). Looks at similes in Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which the relationship of comparans and comparandum explicitly falls short of identity, and the way in which these introduce and reflect on larger themes of incest and other kinds of boundary-confusion.
Tradizione bucolica e programma poetico in Calpurnio Siculo – Enrico MAGNELLI (Florence). Argues that Calpurnius follows a Neronian taste for escapist poetry, and presents elements of both tradition and innovation in the bucolic genre, developing especially its encomiastic aspect.
Blinde Mimesis. Über Ordo und Kontingenz in der Literaturgeschichtlichen Traditionsbildung (Horaz und Petron) — Jürgen Paul SCHWINDT (Heidelberg). Traces the similar sequences of celebration, accident, good fortune and commemorative poetry at Petronius Sat. 54-5 (the fall of the acrobat) and Horace Odes 2.13 (the fall of the tree).
Martial, Pline le Jeune et l’identité du genre de l’épigramme latine – Mario CITRONI (Florence). Uses the evidence of Pliny to argue that Martial pursues an individual line in his development of the Latin epigram, differing both from Pliny’s circle and Greek epigram.
La strategia del ragno, ovvero la rivincita di Aracne. Fortuna tardo-antica (Sidonio Apollinare, Claudiano) di un mito ovidiano – Gianpiero ROSATI (Udine). Considers the reception of Ovid’s Arachne episode in Sidonius 15 and Claudian’s De Raptu Proserpinae.
Overall, this journal is clearly a significant new resource for the field of Latin poetry. Some material is available free online for individual users (the website also has ordering information), but, given its very reasonable price (€28.00 for two yearly issues), the centrality of its subject-matter and the quality of its contributions, Dictynna should certainly be purchased by classical libraries at major universities.