The Intertextual Dynamics of Colluthus' Abduction of Helen
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This thesis is devoted to an intertextual study of Colluthus’ late antique epyllion, the Abduction of Helen. Colluthus is a poet whose reputation has long suffered, but is currently under rehabilitation, and the aim of this study is to build on recent scholarship in order to develop a fuller appreciation of Colluthus’ multi-faceted engagement with literary traditions and his allusive technique. Chapters are devoted to linguistic allusion, the intertextuality of genre, and the thematic intertextuality of the abduction narrative. In each chapter, a different approach to allusion and intertextuality reveals a pervasive pattern in Colluthus’ allusive poetics. Colluthus, it will be shown, was a poet who delighted in irony, but it is an irony which is almost always dependent on its relationships to model texts, generic traditions, and thematic motifs. Through the various allusive devices studied here, we find that the poet frequently creates expectations in the learned reader for the directions his narrative will take, only to deny them: he builds a pastoral world through generic parallels, only to leave it behind; he frequently alludes to the motifs and stories of abduction in classical literature, only to frame the “abduction” of Helen as a mutual romantic encounter. Through a systematic, yet necessarily selective study of Colluthus’ allusive poetics, we gain a new understanding of the Abduction of Helen as a poem defined by its ambivalence and undecidability, just like the figure of Helen herself.
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Geoffrey Harmsworth (2018). The Intertextual Dynamics of Colluthus' Abduction of Helen. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13634