Latin Elegiac Verse: a Study of the Metrical Usages of Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid

Maurice Platnauer (1887-1974) published this seminal study of the metrical practices of the great Augustan elegists in 1951, and it is yet to be superseded. Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford, between 1956 and 1960, Platnauer examined every conceivable aspect of the versification of the three principal Latin elegiac poets, Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid, scrutinising in turn their prosody, word use and idiom. The book contains numerous tables of statistics comparing the frequency of various metrical and idiomatic usages among the three authors, including the placement of caesuras, use of elision, dactylic opening feet and polysyllabic line endings. This wealth of technical detail is offset by Platnauer’s keen appreciation of the ultimate poetic purpose of these prosodic investigations: he explicitly hopes that the book will prove to be of use not only to teachers, but also to the ‘not yet quite extinct genera’ of writers of Latin verse.”