Abstract The article analyses how Ovid in the 10th letter of his Heroides experiments with the concept of a female voice within Roman literature. Ovid constructs Ariadne as a literary speaker against the background of (1) the Augustan elegiac tradition with its mostly male speakers, (2) the earlier phases of the Ariadne-myth in which Ariadne’s fate is determined by men (Theseus and Bacchus), and (3) the reception of this myth in Catullus’ famous ecphrasis in carmen 64. In the beginning of Heroides 10, Ovid shows how Ariadne develops consciousness of her own ability to speak. She develops from a heterodiegetic (epic) narrator to a homodiegetic (elegiac) speaker. In a second step, however, Ovid demonstrates that Ariadne is not only generally inexperienced in the field of literature, but that her attempt to re-shape her own story from a female perspective must necessarily fail. Her literary character cannot be separated from the previous (male) myth. At the end of the letter, she accepts her own literary immaturity when she asks Theseus to be the future narrator of her own fate. By showing that Ovid in his Ariadne-letter actually stages the failure of his protagonist’s attempt to free herself from a male literary tradition, I suggest that the Heroides should not be read as female literature, but as texts which reaffirm male dominance within Roman literary society.
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2012
Keywords: Ovid; Heroides ; female writing; literature and gender
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera