Metapoetry in Theocritus' "Idylls" 2, 14 and 15

Maria Natalia Bustos, Fordham University


Theocritus’ Idylls 2, 14 and 15, commonly called “urban mimes” are not “mimes” but metapoetic poems. In these three Idylls, the characters perform an act of “internal self-creation.” They are poets creating themselves as poems. Throughout their speeches, the seams of the artistic creation are revealed by means of the use of allusions and topoi that are not introduced merely for the sake of reference to other literary works or to enrich the new creation, but to reveal the metapoetic agenda of the poems. These three Idylls are exercises in literary composition in which the act and process of creation are highlighted and the artifice is exposed. They offer not an imitation of reality but an imitation and manipulation of literary models for intellectual delight.

Subject Area

Classical Studies

Recommended Citation

Bustos, Maria Natalia, "Metapoetry in Theocritus' "Idylls" 2, 14 and 15" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10182820.