Elegies 1.19 and 2.15 combine the motifs of loss, desire, and writing in complex ways. In each poem, the speaker's attempt to recapture the past-to possess his beloved by writing about her-leads him to confront the imperatives of time and the limits of his own poetic art. Furthermore, because Cynthia is so closely identified with Propertius' project as an elegiac poet, she becomes a focus of literary as well as erotic unease. In poem 1.19, the narrator's anxiety about Cynthia's fidelity discloses a deeper anxiety about the reception of his poetry, and about the ability of a text to represent its author faithfully once it enters the public domain. In contrast to 1.19, elegy 2.15 seems initially to resist the prospect of change and loss. In the first ten lines of the poem, the narrator affirms a kind of mastery over time and his beloved, re-creating a scene of pleasure from the past, and presenting Cynthia's unclothed body as the object of his and the reader's amorous gaze. Yet Cynthia's active role in the scene-the evidence of "her" desire-leads to the dissolution of the amatory tableau. Cynthia brings elements of narrative into the erotic spectacle created by the poet-lover; as in poem 1.19, she is associated with forces which threaten the text's stability or closure. In both elegies, however, the poet's fictive encounters with loss are productive as well as unsettling. Such fictions permit him to view both love affair and poetic project retrospectively, and to evaluate their significance. They give expression to literary anxieties, but also allow these anxieties to be explored and partially mastered. Finally, they offer a way of thinking about the limits of love, of representation, and of a writer's control over his text.


Papanghelis 1987
Wyke 1995.112
Veyne 1988
Kennedy 1993.46-63
Wyke 1987
Barbara K. Gold 1993a.
Gold 1993b.286-93.
Oliensis 1995
Bersani 1984.235, 83.
Caims 1969
Fedeli 1980.417-19.
Nancy J. Vickers 1982.102
Wyke 1984.111
Fedeli's 1994
Goold 1990
Lyne 1980
Stahl 1985
Latham 1951
Goold and Showerman 1977
Ross 1975
King 1980.222-24.
Lyne 1980.101
Hyginus F. 103
Apollodorus Epit. 3.30.
Papanghelis 1987
Lacan 1966.629
Silverman 1983.176-77.
Rothstein 1920.184
Williams 1968.770
Fedeli 1980.444, 447
Wyke 1984.114 and 163 n. 209.
Wyke 1984.112.
AY 7.26 (Antipater of Sidon on Anacreon)
A.P 7.37 (Dioscorides on Sophocles)
A.P 7.414 (Nossis on Rinthon)
A.P 7.536 (Alcaeus of Messene on Hipponax).
Wyke 1984.112-13 and 163 n. 207.
Wyke 1984.273.
Ibid. 113.
Wyke (97-98 273)
Commager 1974.11-12
and Udris 1976.88.
Wyke 1989a.30-32
Gold 1993a.87-93
Schulz-Vanheyden 1969
Yaeger 1988.30.
Rothstein 1920.184
Williams 1968.770
Fedeli 1980.448
Wyke 1984.163 n. 210.
Barthes 1978.13.
Bersani 1984.98
Pucci 1978.72 n. 28
Tränkle 1960.157
Enk 1962 vol. 2, 214-15
Rothstein 1920.308-309
Camps 1967.126, 98.
Culler 1981.150.
the essay "Apostrophe" in Culler op. cit., 135-54, esp. 138- 39 and 148-52.
Rudd 1982.152-53.
Pucci 1978.64.
Ibid. 66-67 and 72 n. 30.
Barthes 1974.75-76
Belsey 1980.70 and 106
Pucci 1978.66.
Ibid. 65.
Boucher 1965.41-64.
Mulvey 1975.
Mulvey 1989.29-38
Rudd 1982.152 n. 2.
Coward and Ellis 1977.22.
Wyke 1995.121.
Stahl 1985.223.
Yardley 1991.149
Richardson 1977.258.
Griffith 1975.77.
Il. 6.146-49
Dinshaw 1989.46-47
Horace's Ep. 1.20
Oliensis 1995, esp. 211-16.
Kermode 1967.


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