402 Cohen Hall
This presentation examines how Latin poetry of the Augustan period interprets, assimilates, and reimagines the idea of the Greek chorus. I argue that in Augustan Rome, Greek choreia (“dance-song”) is reinvented by Roman readers into a metaphor through which to articulate and interrogate some of their own most pressing questions during a time of social and literary transformation: the relationship between individual and collective, poet and audience, performance and writing, Greek and Roman, tradition and innovation. After a brief overview of the place of choral dance in Augustan literature, the talk takes as a case study the presentation of erotic female song and dance in Propertius’ second book of elegies and Horace’s second book of Odes. The chorus is shown to be implicated in Augustan poets’ self-positioning vis-a-vis the inheritance of Greek literary forms and the development of new Roman genres.