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Title:The senses and synaesthesia in Horace's Satires
Author(s):Norgard, Amy Lynn
Director of Research:Augoustakis, Antonios
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Augoustakis, Antonios
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Traill, Ariana; Walters, Brian; Williams, Craig
Department / Program:Classics
Discipline:Classical Philology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This study observes Horace’s Satires (Book 1 published c. 36-35 BCE, and Book 2 c. 30 BCE) through a lens of the body’s senses and organs involved in perception (eyes, ears, noses, mouths, hands, and tongues). Horace manipulates a multitude of bodies throughout his poetry, each contributing a different sensory experience, as a medium for representing and externalizing his poetic program. I seek to detect moments of synaesthesia within the text, by which I mean a literary crossing of the readable senses. Synaesthesia derives its name from the medical condition synaesthesia, which is a neurological conflation of the bodily senses: physical stimuli in the environment that trigger one mode of sense perception (like sight) also effect perception in a second sense (like hearing). By adopting synaesthesia as a literary interpretive model, I show how Horatian poetry, language, narrative, and themes emphasize integration and blending of the body’s senses, through which the audience can experience the text more richly. Furthermore, in observing the bodies and senses throughout Horace’s own body of satires, it is my goal to identify Horace’s literary program relative to Lucilian satiric tradition. Chapter 1 (Sight) treats the sense of sight and eyes in Horace’s satiric journey in S. 1.5 in tandem with Lucretian optic theory and Laura Mulvey’s theory of the active and penetrating male gaze from film theory. S. 1.5 is replete with eye dysfunction, namely that of Horace’s eponymous, “bleary-eyed” (lippus) persona. Through emphasizing eye and body dysfunction, we are led to question what Horace saw on his trip and what he allows the audience to see. Chapter 2 (Taste) is concerned with the sense of taste and digestion in the culinary poems S. 2.2, 2.6, and 2.8. Through the sights and smells of the dinner table and the savory taste of the food that is served, this chapter follows the food from presentation to palate to digestion as it is transformed into a literary metaphor for Horatian satiric poetics. Chapter 3 (Hearing) observes the sense of hearing in the satiric dialogues (S. 1.9 and 2.7), along with the faulty ears that are burdened with the task of listening. When engaged in dialogue, Horace’s persona is silenced or intentionally observes silence in preference to the spoken word, casting himself more as a member of the audience than satirist. However, his “leaky ear” (auris rimosa) and “floppy-eared nature” (flaccus) make listening into an onerous task. Finally, Chapter 4 (The Synaesthetic Garden) deconstructs S. 1.8 into a synaesthetic test case for Horatian satire by observing all the senses in tandem throughout the poem. From the smells of decaying bodies on the Esquiline hill, to the grotesque appearance of the witches, to the loud thunderous fart that chases them away, Priapus’ garden is truly a nexus of sensory stimuli.
Issue Date:2015-07-08
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Amy Norgard
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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