Kerry Lefebvre

Position title: Robert J. Reinhold Dissertation Fellow (2012-2013)

Classics, UW-Madison

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With You in that Dress: Cultus and Elegy in Rome

This project examines the role that cultus — dress, adornment, and outward appearance—plays in the world of Latin love elegy and argues that, by investigating the descriptions of male and female clothing and accessories found throughout Latin elegy, we can answer some important questions concerning the gender dynamics of this poetry. Her clothing sheds light on the identity of the female beloved (the puella) as well as her role as a metapoetic manifestation of the elegists’ poetry, and the male poet-lover’s cultus reveals that he ultimately controls the puella, their relationship, and his own poetry. Additionally, this study will reflect on cultus’ interaction with and commentary on life in Rome as it transitions from republic to empire under Augustus.

Kerry Lefebvre, a Robert J. Reinhold Dissertation Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research examines the dynamics of gender in Latin elegy through its descriptions of female and male cultus, or outward appearance. In support of this project, Lefebvre received a 2011-2012 Chancellor’s Fellowship. She has also received the Classical Association of the Middle West and South’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Classical Studies and has presented her research at a variety of domestic and international conferences. Lefebvre was also involved with UW-Madison’s Center for the Humanities’ Great World Texts program during 2011-2012 and prepared the teachers’ guide for that year’s great text, the Antigone.