Horace: Image, Identity, and Audience

Horace: Image, Identity, and Audience

by Randall L. B. McNeill
     
 

Traditional views of Horace seek to present the poet as a consistent, vivid personality who stands behind and orchestrates the diverse "Horatian" writings that have come down to us. In recent years, however, an alternate tradition suggests that there may be many Horaces, that his work is more productively read as the constant invention of rhetorical techniques

Overview

Traditional views of Horace seek to present the poet as a consistent, vivid personality who stands behind and orchestrates the diverse "Horatian" writings that have come down to us. In recent years, however, an alternate tradition suggests that there may be many Horaces, that his work is more productively read as the constant invention of rhetorical techniques sensitively attuned to the requirements of different situations and audiences. As Randall L. B. McNeill argues, any sense that readers have of the "real" Horace is clearly deceptive; Horace offers us no unguarded self-portrait, but rather a number of consciously developed characterizations to suit diverse audiences, whether patron, peers, or the public.

Horace: Image, Identity, and Audience provides a wide-ranging analysis of Horace's use of self-presentation in his poetry: in his portrayal of his relationships with his patron Maecenas and with his larger readership as a whole; in his discussion of the craft of poetry and his own identity as a poet; and in his handling of contemporary Roman political events in the light of his assumed role as critic of his own society. McNeill uncovers the techniques Horace uses to depict the intricacies of his personal existence; in the book's conclusion, he explores how similar techniques were adapted by later poets such as Ovid. This volume will interest scholars of Horace, Latin poetry, rhetoric, as well as those interested in the cultural studies aspect of persona and identity.

Editorial Reviews

Bryn Mawr Classical Review
McNeill's book is a sophisticated and rewarding examination of Horace's self-presentation in his poetry in the light of its social and political contexts... Engagingly written, easy to read and well presented.

— A. D. Morrison

Religious Studies Review
A fine read.

— Timothy S. Johnson

Bryn Mawr Classical Review - A. D. Morrison
McNeill's book is a sophisticated and rewarding examination of Horace's self-presentation in his poetry in the light of its social and political contexts... Engagingly written, easy to read and well presented.

Religious Studies Review - Timothy S. Johnson
A fine read.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801866661
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
07/28/2001
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Kenneth J. Reckford
Horace: Image, Identity, and Audience is clearly written and organized, working outward from Horace's entire corpus of poetry to reconstruct the various constraints and pressures that the poet encountered. McNeill shows us something of Horace's artistic trickiness, the ambivalence of many of his statements (addressed as they are to multiple and demanding readers), his frequent use of the 'preemptive defense.' I especially liked McNeill's treatment of intimacy/distance in Horace's relation to Maecenas, and of the complexities of Horace's social position.

R. Elaine Fantham
The framework of McNeill's approach is new and useful. Horace: Image, Identity, and Audience is well organized, and argues clearly and attractively. Indeed it is a pleasure to read.

Meet the Author

Randall L. B. McNeill is an assistant professor of classics at Lawrence University.

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