Complete Poetry of Catullus / Edition 1

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Overview

    Catullus’ life was akin to pulp fiction. In Julius Caesar’s Rome, he engages in a stormy affair with a consul’s wife. He writes her passionate poems of love, hate, and jealousy. The consul, a vehement opponent of Caesar, dies under suspicious circumstances. The merry widow romances numerous young men. Catullus is drawn into politics and becomes a cocky critic of Caesar, writing poems that dub Julius a low-life pig and a pervert. Not surprisingly, soon after, no more is heard of Catullus.
    David Mulroy brings to life the witty, poignant, and brutally direct voice of a flesh-and-blood man, a young provincial in the Eternal City, reacting to real people and events in a Rome full of violent conflict among individuals marked by genius and megalomaniacal passions. Mulroy’s lively, rhythmic translations of the poems are enhanced by an introduction and commentary that provide biographical and bibliographical information about Catullus, a history of his times, a discussion of the translations, and definitions and notes that ease the way for anyone who is not a Latin scholar.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
    "Mulroy's is a marvelous contribution to Catullus translations and studies. Catullus' angry or comic (sometimes both) poems directed at the movers and shakers of his era are rendered here with wit and Roman realism, and the famous love poems to Lesbia are charming and immediate."—Kelly Cherry, author of Rising Venus: Poems
Library Journal
The lyric poetry of antiquity is often as important to modern poets as it is to translators and classical scholars. Mulroy is a professor of classics (Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), and Carson (classics, McGill Univ.; The Beauty of the Husband) and the late William Matthews (After All: Last Poems) are well-regarded poets. Following Pound's dictum to "make it new," Mulroy and Matthews translate Catullus and Horace into modern American idiom, striving where possible to find cultural equivalents rather than literal translations. At the same time, they try to be true to the shifting tones and rhythms of their originals. The results are fluent, giving some sense of the contemporaneousness that Catullus and Horace would have evoked in their audiences. Carson's translation follows Sappho's diction and form much more closely and includes the Greek original on the facing page. Much of what survives of Sappho are fragments, often just a stray word, phrase, or even a few letters. Like many modern poets, Carson deploys these on the blank page, letting their suggestiveness fill the gaps and create whole lyrics in the imagination of the readers. All three translators aim for a general audience, though Mulroy and Carson also include notes and introductions of value to the more scholarly reader. All three books are recommended for both public and academic libraries. T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Classicists will welcome this new translation of the (often explicitly sexual) poems of the brilliant Roman writer. Mulroy (his affiliation is not indicated) provides a lengthy introduction on Catullus, the versions that remain of his work, poetry and politics in the late Roman Republic, and the poet's sincerity. The poems follow (in English only), all fully annotated. There is a bibliography, but no index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299177744
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Series: Wisconsin Studies in Classics Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Mulroy, associate professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, has published two other translated collections, Early Greek Lyric Poetry and Horace’s Odes and Epodes. He has performed his translations of Catullus’ poems at poetry slams in Milwaukee bars to enthusiastic response.
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