i've been reading some claudian lately. perhaps someday i'll have something intelligent to say about it.
but i wouldn't hold my breath.
in the meantime, i direct your attention to someone who does. here is bret mulligan's review of the recently published Aetas Claudianea. Eine Tagung an der Freien Universität Berlin vom 28. bis 30. Juni 2002, edited by Widu-Wolfgang Ehlers.
This volume will be required reading for students of Claudian, and offers much of value to scholars of late antique literary culture and the Classical Tradition in general. In their inclusion of extensive references and supplementary material, most contributors appear to be aiming at an audience beyond that of the Claudian specialist, and taken together the twelve contributions in this volume provide a valuable introduction to the current questions and challenges of Claudian scholarship, as well as a useful overview of its bibliography. Of the twelve contributions, six are in German, four in English, and two in Italian.
indeed, there are a couple of essays herein i'm looking forward to reading, especially 'Das Orpheus-Thema in Claudians De raptu Proserpinae' by christine schmitz, in which she examines the function of the prefaces to books 1 and 2 in the rest of the work (a topic in which i'm quite interested myself).
and those interested in the interplay of hellenistic and late antique literature might enjoy isabella gualandri's essay 'Claudian's Greek World: Callimachus'. here is how mr. mulligan describes it:
In "Claudian's Greek World: Callimachus" (pp. 78-95), Isabella Gualandri reassesses the difficult topic of Claudian's use of Greek models, focusing on a few points of apparent contact between Claudian and Callimachus. She demonstrates how allusions to the Hymn to Delos structure the arrival of Mars in In Eutropium and inform the predicted destruction of the Giants in his Greek Gigantomachy. This last reference leads Gualandri to discuss other instances where Claudian exploits similarities between ancient Gallic and contemporary Gothic invaders, in particular the preface to the second book of the In Rufinum, where the anachronistic interest in Delphi is best explained as a reference to the Hymn to Delos's treatment of the Gallic invasion of 279 BCE. Although Gualandri cautions that "nothing conclusive can be inferred from these few examples," she ventures that Claudian's references to Greek models are not allusions -- i.e. aemulatio intended to be recognized by a learned audience -- but simply material "to be freely exploited and exhibited as if they were the result of his own inventio," an "elusive use of his literary models." In this well-argued essay, Gualandri is meticulous in documenting her sources and providing interesting supplementary information. She thoroughly treats other possible sources and avoids the pitfalls of overstatement that often plague the exposition of poetic models.
finally, here is a complete list of the papers included:
Lucio Ceccarelli, "Osservazioni sull'esametro di Claudiano"
Franca Ela Consolino, "Poetry and politics in Claudian's carmina minora 22 and 50"
Siegmar Döpp, "Von Napoleon zu Ludwig XVIII.: Der Claudian-Cento des L.A. Descampe"
Manfred Fuhrmann, "Claudian in der Neuzeit"
Isabella Gualandri, "Claudian's Greek World"
Jacqueline Long, "Claudian and the City: Poetry and Pride of Place"
Jens Michners, "Spott und Ironi in Claudians carmina minora"
Claudio Moreschini, "Paganus pervicacissimus religione e 'filosofia' in Claudiano"
Claudia Schindlerm "Tradition - Transformation - Innovation: Claudians Panegyriken und das Epos"
Peter Lebrecht Schmidt, "Rezeptionsgeschichtliche Erwägungen zur Claudianüberlieferung"
Christine Schmitz, "Das Orpheus-Thema in Claudians De raptu Proserpinae"
Catherine Ware, "Gildo tyrannus: Accusation and Allusion in the Speeches of Roma and Africa"