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‘Sideshadowing’ in Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’

Carlo Bottone


Unlike the Homeric epos, which is enclosed in an absolute past, the Aeneid forges a continuity between myth and the historical present and its plot is the fulfillment of a future which is preordained by Fate. As a result, Virgil’s epic has often been regarded as the expression of the immobilization of history rather than its open-endedness. Contrary to the idea of the Aeneid as a mere narrative teleology, the numerous untimely deaths of young heroes and their un-enacted futures bring about elements of temporal condensation that not only add uncertainty to the narrative, but undermine the idea of the present as the only inevitable realization of the past. The sideshadowing created by mors immatura opens loopholes in the poem and stands as a counterpoint to epic as the genre of absolute truths and historical determinism.


Bakhtin, death, epic, history, mors immatura, novel, sideshadowing, time, Virgil, epica, morte, romanzo, storia, tempo

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/erga-2015-001-bott

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