Appendix A: Catullus 8
A consecutive-ring structure makes its earliest appearance in Latin poetry in Catullus 8.1 Catullus opens his collection with a series of poems that briefly chronicle the various stages of his love affair with Lesbia from its beginning to end. Poem 8 is the penultimate piece in the series. This literary masterpiece takes the form of a soliloquy in which a strong Catullus (the poet) exhorts a weak Catullus (the lover) to face the fact that his relationship with Lesbia is over or nearly over.2
Poem 8 features a proliferation of the same or similar language, the purpose of which is to convey the intense emotion of a broken-hearted lover. The verbal repetition also defines its structure. The extensive nature of the repeated language, however, has resulted in a lack of agreement regarding the organization of the poem.3 The solution lies in recognizing that Catullus organized poem 8 in two structural patterns, a consecutive ring and a ring composition.4
As Figure A.1 illustrates, the consecutive-ring arrangement consists of two distinct parts of nearly equal proportions, 10 and 9 lines apiece. Each section is clearly delineated by striking verbal reminiscences.
Figure A.1:Consecutive-Ring Structure of Catullus 8
In the first part (1–10), nearly identical lines frame the past happiness of Catullus the lover: fulsere vere candidi tibi soles in line 8 repeats fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles from line 3. Referring to Catullus’s Lesbia, puella occupies the same metrical position at the end...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.