[ilds] Cento construction

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Jun 17 07:03:37 PDT 2007

I have the same problem Marc Piel has.  The term "cento" has been thrown around, defined, and applied to Justine, but I too don't really understand either the genre, if such, and the connection.  To call Justine a cento, seems to me, rather inappropriate, especially as Princeton Univ. Press would have it.  "Patchwork" is the key term, and Justine is not a patchwork, as I visualize one.  Patchwork means you see the patches and focus on them and their relationships.  I occasionally see some patches in J, but that's incidental to the main image.  Bill called Joyce's Finnegans Wake a cento, FW being perhaps the most bizarre work in English literature and beyond classification.  That comparison I don't understand either.  I guess I don't understand a lot of things.  I would like, however, to know more about Marc's classification system of definers of "cento."  That should prove an interesting cento of ILDS participants.


-----Original Message-----
>From: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
>Sent: Jun 16, 2007 6:36 PM
>To: marcpiel at interdesign.fr, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] T. S. Eliot and cento construction
>> On 6/16/2007 5:33 PM, Marc Piel wrote:

>>>Can someone please give me an official definition 
>>of "cento"? You have all used it as a term but 
>>nobody has been specific as to what it means.
>>I have now, by your reactions, eperdemic or 
>>intellectual, I have been able to classisify you 
>>as you are tying to classify the tallent (or not)) 
>>of LD. Most interesting excercise.>
>Look back in the posts, Marc.  I submitted the Princeton definition a 
>week or so ago.
>> from The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.
>> Preminger, Alex; Brogan, T. V. F. (co-eds); Warnke, Frank J.; Hardison 
>> Jr, O. B.; Miner, Earl (assoc. eds).
>> Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993. xlvi, 1383 p.
>> Copyright © 1993 by Princeton University Press.
>> (Lat. "patchwork"). A verse composition made up of lines selected from 
>> the work or works of some great poet(s) of the past. Homer largely 
>> served this purpose in Gr. lit., ranging from the adaptations by 
>> Trygaeus of various lines in the Iliad and Odyssey reported by 
>> Aristophanes (Peace 1090-94) to the Homerokentrones of the Byzantine 
>> period. Similarly, Virgil was the most popular source for centos in 
>> later Roman times. The oldest of those extant is the tragedy Medea by 
>> Hosidius Geta (2d c. A.D.), while the C. nuptialis of Ausonius and the 
>> C. Vergilianus of Proba (4th c. A.D.) are among others drawn from his 
>> work. Ren. and later works of this kind included the It. Petrarca 
>> spirituale (1536) and the Eng. Cicero princeps (1608), which was a 
>> treatise on government compiled from Cicero. Centos are still 
>> occasionally published, e.g. in the first issue of The Formalist 
>> (1990), and are now almost invariably humorous, the humor arising from 
>> both the clever juxtaposition of famous lines into a new semantic 
>> matrix and also recognition of the diversity of their sources.
>> J. O. Delepierre, Tableau de la litt. du centon chez les anciens et 
>> chez les modernes, 2 v. (1874-75)
>> R. Lamacchia, "Dall'arte allusiva al centone," Atene e Roma n.s. 3 (1958)
>> "C.," Oxford Cl. Dict., 2d ed. (1972)
>> T. Augarde, Oxford Guide to Word Games (1984).
>> Robert J. Getty
>> T. V. F. Brogan

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