A reader of the epyllion by Dracontius, the elegy by Maximianus, and the epigram by Luxorius should not expect that these works – and these new embodiments of the ‘old’ genres – will be wholly identical with their ‘archetypes’. Were it so, it would mean that we read but second-rate versifiers, indeed. … We may expect rather that thanks to the reading of Dracontius’s epyllion, Maximianus’s elegy, and Luxorius’s epigram our understanding of these very genres may become fuller and deeper than if it was narrowed only to the study of the ‘classical phase’ of the Roman literature.
Therefore, I have decided to employ in the title of my book the expression genres rediscovered. I have found it fair to emphasize that the poets whose works have been studied here merit appreciation for their creativity, and indeed courage, in reusing and reinterpreting the classical – and truly classic – literary heritage. In addition, I have found it similarly fair to stress that for the students of Latin literature the borderline between the ‘classical’ and the ‘post-classical’ is, and should be, flexible. It is not my intention of course to imply that aesthetic and poetological differences should be ignored or blurred. Quite the reverse, these differences are profound and multidimensional and as such must be properly understood and explained. The main issue is the fact that studies of Latin literature – or rather of literature in general – and especially generic studies require a proper, i.e. diachronic, perspective. A description of a certain genre based merely on its most important or generally known representative/representatives will always risk becoming incomplete and limited. In genology, one must be utterly prudent in defining the ‘main’ and the ‘marginal’, the ‘relevant’ and the ‘negligible’. In this sense, an insight into a few genres practiced by some ‘classical’ – and classic – Roman poets from the perspective of their ‘post-classical’ followers may be, also for a genologist, an intriguing rediscovery.