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A recusatio is a poem (or part thereof) in which the poet says he is supposedly unable or disinclined to write the type of poem which he originally intended to, and instead writes in a different style.

The recusatio is something of a topos in ancient literature. Its use has often been interpreted as a persona deliberately adopted by the poet, allowing him to express ironic self-deprecation or feigned humility.

Examples from Ancient Greek LiteratureEdit

Examples from Latin LiteratureEdit


  1. ^ See Rosenmeyer, P. (1992) Poetics of Imitation p. 96ff.
  2. ^ Thomas, R (1985) From Recusatio to Commitment PLLS 5 (1985), p. 61
  3. ^ See Jakobi, R. (2014) Nemesianus >Cynegetica< Edition und Kommentar, p.66; Conte, G.B. (trans Solodow) (1994), Latin Literature:A History, p. 613