The authorial drama of Prudentius in the Apotheosis, Amartigenia, and Psychomachia

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Abstract

The authorial persona figures prominently at the end of Prudentius’s Apotheosis, Amartigenia, and Psychomachia. In the first poem, the writer is supremely confident in his resurrection; in the second poem, he prays only for a lenient punishment; and in the third, he eagerly awaits the resolution to come with Christ’s arrival. Rather than read these passage as biographical evidence, this paper offers a model for how to understand such scenes as literary and fictional devices: they are designed to enact and elicit the faith that is a major theme in the poetry of Prudentius, and each passage suggests that the author’s survival is coterminous with his positive literary reception. One important result of a poetic reading of Prudentius’s faith is that it confirms the substantial continuity between his poetry and the previous tradition of Latin poetry. An appendix sets out the evidence for thinking that the Hymnus de trinitate was written as a preface for these three poems when they were arranged as a trilogy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139–162
JournalLucida Intervalla
Volume48
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Prudentius
  • late antiquity
  • author
  • persona
  • reader
  • reception
  • fiction

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