The social and political context for obstruction in Roman love elegy
Leonard, Amy Kirk
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This thesis will examine the presence of erotic obstruction in the poems of the first century B.C. writers of Roman love elegy: Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid. While erotic poetry prior to this time period had long necessitated a sense of obstruction, the deliberate construction of a failed love-affair by the Roman elegists serves to define their particular use of obstruction as a unique discursive strategy. The observation has been made that the time period marking the emergence and disappearance of Roman elegy qualifies it as a discrete, time-bound genre. In light of these time considerations, the obstruction motif in elegy, as a means of articulating a continual sense of failure, is capable of giving involuntary voice to events taking place on the Roman socio-political front, specifically, as this thesis will argue, a perceived loss of autonomy under the changing political structures at the end of the Republic.