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Grant number: FT-61693-14

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Deborah Beck
University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)

Similes in Vergil's Aeneid

Throughout the Aeneid, the main narrative about the hero Aeneas and the similes that tell many aspects of his tale work together as full and equal partners in narrating the poem. This view of similes challenges the usual idea that they provide a kind of seasoning for the meat and potatoes of epic narrative. Work from various disciplines shows that a simile draws in readers both emotionally, by challenging them to provide their own interpretations of it and its relation to the context, and cognitively, by making the narrative more memorable. No study exists that focuses on similes in the Aeneid, and that draws on the wide range of interdisciplinary treatments of how they help a narrative connect with its audience. This study will argue that a reader who grapples with the content, themes, construction, and interpretation(s) of similes understands the Aeneid as a whole. It reshapes our understanding of similes and narrative in Vergil's poetry and of the relationship between the two.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Classical Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2014 – 7/31/2014