Far from any intent of more or less antifrastic understatement, the proposed title mirrors the fractured, discontinuous and asystematic articulation inevitably assumed by an eidographical reflection about Statius' Silvae. These are texts modeled by the kairos and, as such, constitutionally informed by the principles of varietas and Mischung, which, considered both singularly and as a sylloge, escape any attempt of eidographical classification. Rare, elusive and unsatisfactory in relation to the real structure and complexity either of the compositions or, even more so, of the collection, are also the generic labels explicitly provided by the author. Instead, what seems to appear with a certain evidence, even if among the scattered threads of Statius' metapoetic reflection, is a negative definition of the Silvae as 'non-genre' in relation to the genre par excellence: the epos. My observations precisely concentrate on this relation, on the categories of improvisation vs retractatio, orality vs writing, celeritas / festinatio vs callimachism, Greekness vs Romanity and on the problem of identifying a literary 'canon' of reference.
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