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Juvenal and Persius
Harvard University Press, 2004

Mordant verse satire.

The bite and wit of two of antiquity’s best satirists are captured in this Loeb Classical Library edition.

Persius (AD 34–62) and Juvenal (writing about sixty years later) were heirs to the style of Latin verse satire developed by Lucilius and Horace, a tradition mined in Susanna Braund’s introduction and notes. Her notes also give guidance to the literary and historical allusions that pepper Persius’ and Juvenal’s satirical poems—which were clearly aimed at a sophisticated urban audience. Both poets adopt the mask of an angry man, and sharp criticism of the society in which they live is combined with flashes of sardonic humor in their satires. Whether targeting common and uncommon vices, the foolishness of prayers, the abuse of power by emperors and the Roman elite, the folly and depravity of Roman wives, or decadence, materialism, and corruption, their tone is generally one of righteous indignation.

Juvenal and Persius are seminal as well as stellar figures in the history of satirical writing. Juvenal especially had a lasting influence on English writers of the Renaissance and succeeding centuries.


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Laughing Atoms, Laughing Matter
Lucretius' De Rerum Natura and Satire
T. H. M. Gellar-Goad
University of Michigan Press, 2020
Laughing Atoms, Laughing Matter: Lucretius' De Rerum Natura and Satire offers the first comprehensive examination of Roman epic poet Lucretius’ engagement with satire. Author T. H. M. Gellar-Goad argues that what has often been understood as an artfully persuasive exposition of Epicurean philosophy designed to convert the uninitiated is actually a mimesis of the narrator’s attempt to effect such a conversion on his internal narrative audience—a performance for the true audience of the poem, whose members take pleasure from uncovering the literary games and the intertextual engagement that the performance entails.
Gellar-Goad aims to track De Rerum Natura along two paths of satire: first, the broad boulevard of satiric literature from the beginnings of Greek poetry to the plays, essays, and broadcast media of the modern world; and second, the narrower lane of Roman verse satire, satura, beginning with early authors Ennius and Lucilius and closing with Flavian poet Juvenal. Lucilius is revealed as a major, yet overlooked, influence on Lucretius.
By examining how Lucretius’ poem employs the tools of satire, we gain a richer understanding of how it interacts with its purported philosophical program.

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Horace, Translated with commentary by David R. Slavitt
University of Wisconsin Press, 2014
The Odes of Horace are a treasure of Western civilization, and this new English translation is a lively rendition by one of the prominent poet-translators of our own time, David R. Slavitt. Horace was one of the great poets of Rome’s Augustan age, benefiting (as did fellow poet Vergil) from the friendship of the powerful statesman and cultural patron Maecenas. These Odes, which take as their formal models Greek poems of the seventh century BCE—especially the work of Sappho and Alcaeus—are the observations of a wry, subtle mind on events and occasions of everyday life. At first reading, they are modest works but build toward a comprehensive attitude that might fairly be called a philosophy. Charming, shrewd, and intimate, the voice of the Odes is that of a sociable wise man talking amusingly but candidly to admiring friends.
            This edition is also notable for Slavitt’s extensive notes and commentary about the art of translation. He presents the problems he encountered in making the translation, discussing possible solutions and the choices he made among them. The effect of the notes is to bring the reader even closer to the original Latin and to understand better how to gauge the distance between the two languages.

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Odes and Epodes
Harvard University Press, 2004

Monumental verse.

The poetry of Horace (born 65 BC) is richly varied, its focus moving between public and private concerns, urban and rural settings, Stoic and Epicurean thought. The Loeb Classical Library edition of the great Roman poet’s Odes and Epodes boasts a faithful and fluid translation and reflects current scholarship.

Horace took pride in being the first Roman to write a body of lyric poetry. For models he turned to Greek lyric, especially to the poetry of Alcaeus, Sappho, and Pindar; but his poems are set in a Roman context. His four books of Odes cover a wide range of moods and topics. Some are public poems, upholding the traditional values of courage, loyalty, and piety; and there are hymns to the gods. But most of the Odes are on private themes: chiding or advising friends; speaking about love and amorous situations, often amusingly. Horace’s seventeen Epodes, which he called iambi, were also an innovation for Roman literature. Like the Odes they were inspired by a Greek model: the seventh-century iambic poetry of Archilochus. Love and political concerns are frequent themes; the tone is only occasionally aggressive. “In his language he is triumphantly adventurous,” Quintilian said of Horace; Niall Rudd’s translation reflects his different voices.


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Profile of Horace
Shackleton Bailey D. R.
Harvard University Press, 1982

In this concise analysis, written with elegant wit, the greatest living textual critic of Latin authors offers new insight into the poetry of Horace.

Horace is best known for his four books of Odes, cherished for their lyric grace. His amiable persona is displayed more intimately in the moralizing verses of the Satires and Epistles. In a reading of all the poetry, but focusing especially on problematic areas, Shackleton Bailey examines Horace's art of self-presentation. A variety of themes are elucidated, from the poet's relations with his patron to Roman sexual attitudes. Close scrutiny is given to about thirty passages which, he argues, have been misread. An appended essay on a notable predecessor, the textual scholar Richard Bentley, is especially revealing on the art of classical scholarship.


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Satire and the Threat of Speech
Horace's Satires, Book 1
Catherine M. Schlegel
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006
In his first book of Satires, written in the late, violent days of the Roman republic, Horace exposes satiric speech as a tool of power and domination. Using critical theories from classics, speech act theory, and others, Catherine Schlegel argues that Horace's acute poetic observation of hostile speech provides insights into the operations of verbal control that are relevant to his time and to ours. She demonstrates that though Horace is forced by his political circumstances to develop a new, unthreatening style of satire, his poems contain a challenge to our most profound habits of violence, hierarchy, and domination. Focusing on the relationships between speaker and audience and between old and new style, Schlegel examines the internal conflicts of a notoriously difficult text. This exciting contribution to the field of Horatian studies will be of interest to classicists as well as other scholars interested in the genre of satire.

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