Book Series Studi e testi tardoantichi, vol. 18

Literature Squared

Self-Reflexivity in Late Antique Literature

Jesús Hernández Lobato, Óscar Prieto Domínguez (eds)

  • Pages: 314 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English, French, Italian
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58652-6
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58653-3
  • E-book
  • Available
  • Contains contributions in Open Access

A pioneering collection of studies on notions and uses of self-reflexivity in late antique literature


“(...) fundamental questions for understanding how tradition is constructed, what is at stake in belonging, in changing tradition, in educating into tradition or against a tradition.” (Simon Goldhill, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2021.02.45)

“Alle Beiträge basieren auf dem aktuellen Stand der Forschung, sind gut lektoriert und bringen zum Teil entlegene Texte in die Darstellung und Diskussion ein (...). (...) In ebendieser Vielfalt an besprochenen spätantiken Autoren liegt zugleich die Stärke des Bandes, die sich durch exzellent recherchierte Beiträge mit innovativen Fragestellungen manifestiert.” (Anna-Lena Körfer, in Plekos, 24, 2022, p. 414)


Jesús Hernández Lobato is Lecturer in Latin Language and Literature at the University of Salamanca, Spain. His research explores the interrelationship of late antique literature, aesthetics, religion and thinking, as well as the reception of late antique authors and ideas.

Óscar Prieto Domínguez is Lecturer in Greek Language and Literature at the University of Salamanca, Spain. His publications explore the sociological and ideological elements of late antique and Byzantine texts, considering questions like the literary fabric, cultural milieux and literary genres.


This collection of essays focuses on a crucial aspect of late antique thought and literature that has hitherto largely been neglected: its self-reflexivity, i.e. its unprecedented ability to make language and literature into its main and often its only subject matter. Adopting a variety of perspectives and methodologies, the essays included in this volume approach the notion of self-reflexivity in two main ways. On the one hand (literature as a reflection of literature), it implies a self-conscious reflection of preceding literary models, which are creatively mirrored in new but intrinsically 'derivative' works of art, taking the form of remakes, parodies, homages, commentaries, retellings, centos, paraphrases, allegorizations, and more or less free 're-enactments'. On the other hand (literature as reflection on literature), the term also implies a self-questioning reflection on the literary work and the very concepts of language and literature, thus referring to its own artificiality or contrivance while opening up all sorts of theoretical discussions of the mechanisms, the conventions, and even the relevance of linguistic and literary representation.


Introduction (Óscar Prieto Domínguez & Jesús Hernández Lobato)

I. Reflecting Literature
The Literary Horizons of the Poem In Euangelia (Aaron Pelttari)
Pinguia alabastra: Metaliterature and Intertextuality in Sidonius Apollinaris’ Carmen 9 (Marco Onorato)
A Poet in Seventh Heaven: A New Reading of the Numerical Construction of Ausonius’ Mosella (Jesús Hernández Lobato)
Lasciuire uetat mascula dictio: Metaliterary Reflections on Poems in Late Antique Prose Letters (Margot Neger)
Literary Reflections in Hagiographical Proems (Óscar Prieto Domínguez)
The Chaste Bee and the Promiscuous Bee: Poetic Self-Reflexivity in John of Gaza’s Ekphrasis and the Cycle of Agathias (Steven D. Smith)

II. Reflecting on Literature
Il volo di Medea e la voce della Ragione. Metaletteratura e autoriflessività nei Soliloquia di Agostino (Giovanni Catapano)
Unity in Late Latin Poetry (Helen Kaufmann)
A Dancing Dwarf: Luxorius, Epic, and Epigram (Clare Coombe)
Le discours des poètes de l’Anthologie latine d’époque vandale sur leur production épigrammatique (Etienne Wolff)
A Poet and his Fault: Metaliterary Hints in Dracontius’ Satisfactio (Maria Jennifer Falcone)
Caught in Ausonius’ Net: Self-Reflection and Poetic Circulation in Late Antiquity (Brian P. Sowers)
The ‘Poetics of Enigma’ as a Cultural Manifesto in Late Antique Proems (Fourth-Sixth Century AD): Some Case Studies (Lucia Maddalena Tissi)

List of Abbreviations
The Authors

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