Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood by David Wray

By David Wray

This literary examine of the first-century BCE Roman poet, Catullus makes use of units of comparative versions to supply a brand new knowing of his poems. the 1st includes cultural anthropological debts of male social interplay within the premodern Mediterranean, and the second one, the postmodern poetics of such twentieth-century poets as Louis Zukofsky, that are characterised by means of simultaneous juxtaposition, a "collage" aesthetic, and self-allusive play. The publication might be of curiosity to scholars of comparative literature and gender experiences in addition to to classicists.

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The careers of twentieth-century analytic philosophy often seem remote from what the American philosopher Thomas Nagel terms “mortal questions”: the problems involved in making ethical choices, constructing a just society, responding to suffering and loss, and coming to terms with the prospect of death. Indeed, most of us would be inclined to see these issues as the province of religion rather than philosophy. For Marcus and his contemporaries, the situation was very different. Ancient philosophy certainly had its academic side.

He would have been surprised, to begin with, by the title of the work ascribed to him. The long-established English title Meditations is not only not original, but positively misleading, lending a spurious air of resonance and authority quite alien to the haphazard set of notes that constitute the book. In the lost Greek manuscript used for the first printed edition—itself many generations removed from Marcus’s original—the work was entitled “To Himself” (Eis heauton). 6 In fact, it seems unlikely that Marcus himself gave the work any title at all, for the simple reason that he did not think of it as an organic whole in the first place.

Avidius Cassius, who had distinguished himself as a general during the Parthian War and who as governor of Syria now served as virtual regent of the Eastern empire, had revolted and declared himself emperor. Some of the Eastern provinces (notably Cappadocia) remained loyal to Marcus, but Cassius was recognized as emperor throughout much of the East, and in particular in Egypt, whose grain supply was crucial to the capital. Civil war seemed inevitable, and was prevented only by Cassius’s assassination at the hands of a subordinate.

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