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Aspects of Catullus’ Social Fiction


Christopher Nappa

Aspects of Catullus’ Social Fiction examines a number of facets of Catullus’ poetic persona as they relate to particular tensions and institutions in Roman society. Analyzed here are several familiar texts but also some less commonly studied poems which have much to teach us about Catullan poetry and late Republican Rome. Each chapter presents a close reading of one or more poems and a discussion of the interrelationships between them as well as certain overarching themes of Catullus’ work as a whole, such as the Roman conception of masculinity and effeminacy, the nature of poetic composition, and the ways in which Roman society determined and often compromised the moral status of the individual. An introduction sets out a number of issues preliminary to the interpretation of Catullan poetry, and a conclusion suggests implications for a more general understanding of the poet and his work.
Contents: Catullus’ Social Poetry – Anxiety and the Audience – Egnatius’ Smile – Seeking Noble Friends: The Failure of Masculinity and the Catullan Persona – Place Settings – Aspects of Symbol and Theme – The Substance of Song: Catullan Conceptions of Poetry – The Catullan Fiction and Rome.