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A recusatio is a poem (or part thereof) in which the poet says he is supposedly unable or disinclined to write the type of poem which he originally intended to, and instead writes in a different style.
The recusatio is something of a topos in ancient literature. Its use has often been interpreted as a persona deliberately adopted by the poet, allowing him to express ironic self-deprecation or feigned humility.
Examples from Ancient Greek Literature
Examples from Latin Literature
- Virgil Eclogue VI.3ff;
- Propertius I. 7ff; II.34 lines 59-66; III.3 lines 39ff
- Ovid Amores I.1; II.18
- Horace Ode I.6; Ode II.12
- Nemesianus Cynegetica (lines 15 - 47)
- See Rosenmeyer, P. (1992) Poetics of Imitation p. 96ff.
- Thomas, R (1985) From Recusatio to Commitment PLLS 5 (1985), p. 61
- See Jakobi, R. (2014) Nemesianus >Cynegetica< Edition und Kommentar, p.66; Conte, G.B. (trans Solodow) (1994), Latin Literature:A History, p. 613
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