Andrea Rotstein: Orality in the Aeneid: Signs or Fictions?
Abstract: From the beginning of the oral formulaic theory Vergil’s Aeneid has been usually placed towards the “written” side of the orality & literacy spectrum. This paper claims that the Aeneid may be more orally-derived than we usually think. After exploring Vergil’s methods of composition and his implied attitudes regarding the spoken and the written word, this paper will examine the figure known as Theme and Variation. It will be argued that synonymous cola, a feature known from non-Homeric poetic traditions, were used by Vergil as a compositional principle in order to enhance the oral-like style of the Aeneid, and thus contribute to its aural comprehension.