Shattering tradition: A rejection of analysis by genre in Horace’s Ars poetica

H.G.D. Williams


The following paper undertakes a critical review and examination of
the various attempts over the last century and a half of scholarship in
Classical Philology to categorize that most singular work of Horace,
the Ars poetica. Commentators and critics of the poem have
endeavoured to include the work of the Augustan poet within various
pre-determined — somewhat tendentious — generic categories,
including: the didactic treatise, the verse letter, the literary epistle,
the didactic poem, and the sermo. Through critiquing these
approaches I shall argue that the Ars, whether through form or
subject, manages to subvert the criteria of these generic boundaries,
and locates itself within a unique territory. Apart from addressing the
problems involved in classifying the Ars, this paper also tackles
some other general concerns of generic analysis in Classical

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ISSN 2079-2883 (online); ISSN 0303-1896 (print)

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