Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry

Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry

Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry

Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry

Excerpt

This volume contains the lectures, which were delivered on the Sather Foundation at the University of California in Berkeley, in 1928. It was my hope that they would appear in printed form within a year from the time of their delivery, but for reasons which need not be set forth here publication has been delayed. The delay has not been an unalloyed disadvantage, however, for it has permitted me to make certain supplements based on material and discussions which appeared too late to be properly considered, or in some cases to be considered at all, when the lectures were being delivered. Prominent among these are the new papyrus fragments of Callimachus' Coma Berenices published by Vitelli (1929) and my friend Professor Frank book, Catullus and Horace (1928), although I was already familiar with most of Professor Frank's views from his previously published articles. It seems to me fitting, however, that published lectures should fairly represent their original oral form and so I have confined these recent supplements--except the few based on new original material--to the notes.

The point of view and the method of these lectures are in the main those of the philologist. In all the topics which I have discussed I have kept steadily in mind one special purpose: to improve if possible our understanding of the relation of Catullus to Graeco-Roman poetry and thus to define his own position more clearly by investigating one of the most important influences to which he was subjected. Catullus possessed both genius and originality, but at the same time he was an excellent illustration of the principle so well stated by Pierre de Nolhac: Aucune originalité littéraire, si puissante quelle soit, n'est sans emprunter des éléments à ce qui la précède. He owed a large debt to the past and for the most part he was a willing debtor. These lectures deal with the nature of his debt and with the light it throws on his work. It is one of many similar problems in literary history, which though . . .

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