The Rhetoricity of Ovid’s Construction of Exile and the Poeta Structus Exsulis (With a Special Addendum Concerning Alexander Pushkin)
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In Ovid’s Tristia and Epistulae Ex Ponto, the Latin poet constructs an elaborate poetic persona endowed with its own agency, which evokes the sympathy of the reader through engaging in various modes of discourse. This inquiry examines, in depth, how Ovid fashioned his poeta structus through complex modes of discourse and from making use of conventions of genre, namely elegy and epic. These modes of discourse are identified and explored, as well as Ovid’s markedly hyperbolic treatment of the landscape and inhabitants of his exilic outpost of Tomis on the Black Sea. The implications of the exile being surrounded by the Sarmatian and Getic languages are also expounded upon, both in the way the poeta presents the putative effects of the language of the other, as well as the evidence of linguistic evolution in the ‘actuality’ of Ovid’s situation. A comparison is drawn between Cicero’s notion of naufragium, ‘shipwreck,’ and Ovid’s refinement of the term, as well as the rhetorical treatment of exile as a form of death by both authors. Lastly, a special addendum takes a fresh look at Alexander Pushkin’s nuanced reception of the Ovidian poeta structus in his own exilic poetry from 1820-1825.