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Title: Reading Failure and Narrative Authority in Ovid's Procris exemplum (Ars 3.683-746)
Author(s): MADER, Gottfried
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 81    Issue: 1   Date: 2022   
Pages: 103-123
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.81.1.3290843

Abstract :
Recent work on the mythic excursus at Ars 3.683-746 has focused on the interconnected issues of genre, failure and narrative authority, and taken the accidental death of Procris as ironically subverting the praeceptor’s didactic credibility. This interpretation is critiqued from three angles. First, reader perspective: the detached external reader privy to the work’s pragmatic aims will take a less sentimental view than the emotionally involved participants. Next, akratic Procris is constructed in elegiac categories that programme her to failure in a setting where success depends on self-control and choreographed performance; her system-transgression doubles as metaliterary point against Ovid’s elegiac precursors. And finally, impetuous Procris exemplifies the bad 'student': her tragic end, attributed to failure to follow the praeceptor’s master-script, vindicates the overarching ideology and instructional drive of the work, a point reinforced both by the surrounding text and other parallels in the Ars.

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