Critical Essays on Roman Literature: Satire

Critical Essays on Roman Literature: Satire

Critical Essays on Roman Literature: Satire

Critical Essays on Roman Literature: Satire

Excerpt

This Volume of Critical essays on Roman satire is a companion to the first volume of essays on Roman elegy and lyric and is edited on the same principles. Each of the contributors was simply invited to submit a critical essay on their author and none of them necessarily share any critical preconceptions. A difference of tactics will be obvious to even the casual reader. This is perhaps as it should be, for however favourable the atmosphere nowadays to such critical attempts and however common and welcome the appearance of such avowedly critical work, particularly in America, the progress of this particular discipline within our studies has been much slower than the older-established classical disciplines. What progress there has been has been due largely to the efforts of individual scholars and we have not seen anywhere the rise of schools of criticism comparable to those in English studies and most modern languages. Such schools have their disadvantages as well as their advantages; but they do assure, in most cases, a certain guidance for the individual who belongs to one of them and provide that opportunity for discussion which is so important for criticism. Perhaps the nearest thing to this has been the adoption by certain American scholars of the techniques of the New Criticism and the current controversies about the proper method of translating ancient authors. (It should perhaps be added here that although translation can be a useful critical tool, the translations which are offered in this book of the Latin passages quoted are meant, as before, simply for the guidance of the non-professional reader.)

This book is not intended as a substitute for a history of Roman satire and only the major satirists make their appearance in it, for I do not believe that we are in a position to make much of a critical evaluation of the merits of Lucilius or Varro, although . . .

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