Catullus

Catullus

Catullus

Catullus

Synopsis

Catullus is one of the liveliest and most appealing Roman poets. His emotion, charm, and apparent spontaneity resonate with readers as strongly today as in antiquity. This sophisticated literary and historical introduction brings Catullus to life for the modern reader and presents his poetry in all its variety of emotions, subjects, and styles.
  • Places Catullus in a social, historical, and literary context
  • Examines Catallus's style and subjects, and provides a literary introduction to his major themes of love, social life, and politics
  • Discusses the reception of the poems by translators and interpreters

Excerpt

This book is for people who like poetry—in any language. It is for those who like thinking about words and what happens when they are put together, how they sound, how they resonate both inside a poem and with other poems they have read. I hope that there will be something new in it for those who already know Catullus well, but I am thinking mostly of readers whose acquaintance is not so deep, or perhaps not deep at all. That would include students at every level, but especially undergraduates and graduate students, as well as faculty members coming to Catullus from fields like English or comparative literature, or classicists not specializing in Roman poetry. I am also thinking of nonacademics—perhaps people who read Catullus once and liked him, or those who never read a word of Latin, but would like to include him in their poetic universe.

For all these readers I have tried to situate Catullus in his times, which are among the most exciting and interesting eras in Roman history. I have tried to bring his poetry to life, looking at it in as many ways as possible. There are chapters on the arrangement of the poems, the character or persona that Catullus presents in his poetry, his language and poetic structure, the ways his poetry draws on and resonates with earlier poetry, and finally, on the interpretations of his readers from antiquity to the present. My concerns above all are always literary and poetic, and I try to show the ways in which looking at meter or the persona or intertextuality or the approaches of other readers can help us to enjoy and find meaning (often multiple meanings) in the poetry.

Catullus’ poetry presents two apparent barriers to the reader. Much (about a quarter) of it is obscene, and all of it is in Latin. I have confronted both of these facts head on and unapologetically in the belief that twenty-first century readers do not need to be protected from either.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.