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Walter of Châtillon's Alexandreis Book 10 - A Commentary


Glynn Carol Meter

The final and most important book of Walter of Châtillon's Alexandreis is examined as a paradigm for both the compositional techniques and the meaning of the whole poem. These techniques are shown as being reliant on the medieval arts of composition, the strategies inherited from the Biblical paraphrasts and the strict discipline of classical epic hexameter. The author shows that Walter of Châtillon is not simply a classicising epigone of Vergil, but a master poet refining contemporary epic techniques and incorporating scientific and philosophic materials into an elegant moral diatribe against arrogance.
Contents: In the Alexandreis book 10 Walter of Châtillon inveighs against Alexander the Great's overweening pride. Typically he relates his criticism to twelfth century cosmological speculation and millennialist anxieties. His epic is indebted to classical Latin epic and Biblical paraphrastic epic.