An Examination of the Creation and Limitation of Realism in the Elegies of Propertius
Burkowski, Jane Marie Christine
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This thesis is an examination of realism in the love elegies of Propertius: of how it is created, how it is limited, and how its limitations increase its effectiveness rather than diminishing it. The first half analyzes the variety and subtlety of the creation of realism in elegies 1.3, 2.29b, and 4.7, three poems that, because of shared features that link them to each other and set them apart from the rest of Propertius's elegies, represent a case study of realism. The second half begins by describing how the realism in these poems is limited, and how these limitations intensify the effect of their realism by drawing attention to the poet's agency in creating it. This effect is then related to larger trends in the creation and limitation of realism in Propertius's remaining love elegies, in which the same pattern is observed, by means of the analysis of recurring techniques. This examination of aspects of realism in Propertius's poetry provides insight not only into his poetic method, but into his attitude to his genre and its potential.