?

Log in

[icon] Reading in Bed - The latin community
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (The Perseus Project).

Security:
Subject:Reading in Bed
Time:03:17 pm
Liber eram et vacuo meditabar vivere lecto.
I was free and planned to live my life in an empty bed.

That's the first line of Propertius 2.2. Apart from the (at least at first appearance) attractive and simply funny thought of living one's whole life in bed, empty or otherwise, I think Propertius hints at a bookish life (liber), spent reading (lecto). I'm not an expert on Propertius and I haven't got a decent commentary at hand, so: is it likely that he would have played with words like that?
comments: Leave a comment Previous Entry Share Next Entry


falmouthroad
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-02-14 09:58 am (UTC)
I agree (... of course! ...) with the thrust of what Paolo Fedeli says but punning (and the related phenomenon of etymologising play) is a much looser business. It can be seen that ancient etymology was very ambitious in making connections between words which are quite dissimilar in form (and which are not truly etymologically connected) - e.g. 'Venus' could be connected etymologically with 'vincula' and 'vis' and wordplays organised around such connections (see Varro De Lingua Latina 5.61f - see Cairns 'Tibullus: A Hellenistic Poet at Rome' and O'Hara 'True names: Vergil and the Alexandrian tradition of etymological wordplay')).

Also while it is right to place most emphasis on the heard sound of words (here, especially, when the word is in the first position of the line), ancient poetry is not entirely free of purely visual effects - a case in point being acrostics (cf. Aratus Phaenomena as the most well-known example) and also cf. the anagrammmatic play which seems to be apparent at Aen. 8.322-3 'Latiumque vocari / maluit, his quoniam latuisset tutus in oris' (with 'latuisset' self-consciously signalling the conceit).

So although it is of course right to approach such suggestions with a health dollop of judicious skepticism, one shouldn't be too dogmatic about this kind of thing.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


leopold_paula_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-02-14 02:46 pm (UTC)
I didn't understand Fedeli's very kind and encouraging reply as a total rejection of the mere possibility of a pun here. He just doesn't think it very likely. And I don't believe that Propertius must have had this wordplay in mind. I just think it possible. (And as I find the idea attractive I keep it alive in my mind.)

Thanks for the book titles you're mentioning! They sound great.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] Reading in Bed - The latin community
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (The Perseus Project).