Ovid's two versions of his encounter with a woman at the races in the Circus Maximus (Amores 3.2; Ars Amatoria 1.135-70) are re-read together as celebrations of the spectacle of the spectators in the arena. The analytical approaches of "Everyday Life" collage and "Foucauldian panopticism" structure are shown to "over-achieve." Ovid dramatizes personal politics at the Circus in a sustained display of the self-reflexive poetics of erotic metaphor. When elegiac amor is acted out as a race, victory and favor are eroticized, steering between crude explicitness and bland circumlocution, into an expert triumph of sexual asymmetry. Ovid finds a version of femineus amor which brings his poem to a climax, and a climax to his poem, in spite of public decency and myriad spectators. Every quirk, routine, or landmark of the ludi circenses, including the parade of the gods, is included as a challenge for Ovid's poetic chariot, another lap in the race-or another race, re-run according to a fresh strategy. Re-playing the meta-literary terms of poetic genre, Amores 3.2 gives an "epinician" turn to Amores 3, playing games on Callimachean strategies for re-starting a work on a new lap.
Research Article| April 01 2002
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John Henderson; A Doo-Dah-Doo-Dah-Dey at the Races: Ovid Amores 3.2 and the Personal Politics of the Circus Maximus. Classical Antiquity 1 April 2002; 21 (1): 41–65. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2002.21.1.41
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