Abstract Schirner (41/2017)

This study aims at illustrating the function of guiding motive that the representation of ‘exceptional circumstances’ takes in Claudian’s De raptu Proserpinae, a feature running through the whole poem like a common thread. On a micro-level, exceptional situations can be observed in terms of narrative elaboration, i.e. with respect to the characterisation of gods and their behaviour or in the description of settings and scenarios; on a more general level, exceptional situations gain particular relevance also with a view to the contextualisation of Claudian’s work within a literary tradition. Lastly, this kind of analysis could allow a reassessment of the issue of the poem’s artistic completeness, so that it might be legitimately defined as an ‘epic of the exceptional’.