The Books of Catullus is the first full English translation of Catullus to take him at his word. It divides the Roman poet's complete works into the three `books' in which many scholars believe the poems were originally received in the Late Republic (c. 60 bc). The length of each book, or grouping, correlates to the usual length of a single roll of papyrus from that period. These `books' gather poems in different metres and concentrate on specific themes. Poems 1-60 are polymetra, from hendecasyllabics to the Sapphics of Poems 11 and 51, on love and friendship. Poems 61-64 concentrate on the theme of marriage. Poems 65-116 are short epigrams written in elegiac couplets. This translation concentrates on the range and variety of tone Catullus achieves, qualities sacrificed in most versions to a homogenising, singular translator's voice. Through syllable count, ventriloquism and mapping the registers of the originals - poem 16 ghosts the voice of Frank O'Hara, for instance - these versions shadow the originals, true to scholarship and at the same time true to Catullus's poetry line by line. `It would be worth ten years of a man's life to translate Catullus,' said Ezra Pound. Simon Smith has found it so.
Product code: BMQEX
Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
Dimensions: 13.7cm x 21.5cm
Publish date: 01/03/2018
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