Beyond Performance Envy:
Horace, Epistles 2. 1
Horace's literary epistles, contrary to their own written medium, are fascinated with performance. It is not just that the Ars Poetica is a didactic poem on how to write tragedy and Epistles 2.1 focuses mostly on drama in its literary history. Horace is interested in the function of the poet in society. He claims a plenitude for choral lyric and for the archaic poet's role as a founder that is lacking for himself. Although he had already composed the Carmen saeculare by the time of the epistle, he does not line up his own epistolary oeuvre with such plenitude and rather presents the library as a place of refuge for a poet who does not want to be subject to the whims of an audience.
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