The reader and the resurrection in Prudentius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In Prudentius, the bodily resurrection becomes a figure for poetic immortality. Just as the author believes that his God will one day raise him from the dead, he expects and invokes a Christian reader to authenticate and authorise the fragile verbal records of a poetry that is insistently human and fallen. In other words, Prudentius’ metapoetics are perfectly in sync with his theology. After (I) presenting Prudentius’ transformation at the end of his Praefatio and setting out the terms and scope of the argument, this article (II) shows how the author puts himself at the mercy of his readers and patrons in the Peristefanon poems and then (III) considers the body and the resurrection in the Liber Cathemerinon. A short section (IV) on fictionality and belief opens up the argument, and a conclusion (V) advances it through a reading of the end of De opusculis suis. This metapoetic reading of Prudentius reveals that the author's hopes for an afterlife are expressed in and through the creative imagining of poetic and fictional scenes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205–239
JournalThe Journal of Roman Studies (JRS)
Early online date11 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Prudentius
  • Latin literature
  • Late Antiquity
  • Christian poetry
  • reception
  • fiction


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