LAT 323 • Catullus
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
The Late Republican poet Catullus was a man who constructed a variety of personae for his reader: the politician who knew (and lampooned) Caesar; the frustrated lover of Lesbia; the urbane poet and witty literary critic; the author of homoerotic invective; the country gentleman; the translator of the Alexandrian poet Callimachus. His libellus of epigrams, elegy, and longer narrative lyric poems comes down to us in a single manuscript, without which Catullus would be, like Gallus, almost wholly lost to us. In this course we will examine the multiple "selves" that Catullus has left behind for us, and in the process will critique more generally the relationship between the so-called personal lyric style, the form of the poetic libellus, and biography. We will read most of Catullus's surviving poems. In addition, we will briefly consider his reception, from Pliny through the Renaissance to the 20th century. Class meetings will be devoted to close translation of Catullus's Latin as well as to dicussions of his literary style and historical context. The final grade will be composed of: class participation and preparation; midterm examinations; and a final project.
Required Textbooks: Daniel H. Garrison, The Student's Catullus (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991). Benita Kane Jaro, The Key (Bolchazy Carducci, 2002). (optional) Guy Lee, trans. The Poems of Catullus (Oxford University Press, 1998).