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The Poems of Catullus

Collins Classics

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Written in the twilight of the Roman Republic, the poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus offers a delicious insight into the passions and gossip of high Roman society.

From the poet and his friends to cultural and political titans, including Caesar, Cicero, and Pompey, his cutting, modern verse spares no-one. In this new translation by Daisy Dunn, author of Catullus’ Bedspread, his obscene honesty, arrogant wit and surprising tenderness capture Roman society at their best.

Most famous for his obsessive love lyrics for the married Lesbia, Catullus’ words are an immortal expression of youth, rebellion and agonised love.


‘A superlative translation’ Sunday Times

‘Translated, with bright-eyed intelligence’ Spectator

‘An intelligent and often original interpreter of the poetry [she] provides clear, direct and readable translations’ Financial Times
Praise for Daisy Dunn:

‘An amazing mixture of pacey biography and first rate literary analysis. Rome's most famous bad boy poet comes alive as never before. Stunning’ Boris Johnson

‘A haunting reminder of how little humanity has changed over two thousand years and a moving introduction to the greatest love poet of all time’ Robert Harris

‘Lyrical, playful and startlingly original … Breathes extraordinary new life into the classical world. An unforgettable journey into the high art and low life of ancient Rome’ Dan Jones

About the author

Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.

Daisy Dunn was born in London in 1987 and read Classics at the University of Oxford, before winning a scholarship to the Courtauld and completing a doctorate in Classics and History of Art at University College London. She writes and reviews for many publications, including The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, and Standpoint, and is editor of Argo, a Greek culture magazine. She was longlisted for the 2015 Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize. ‘Catullus’ Bedspread’ is her first book.

From Publishers Weekly

12 September 2005 – Feel free to refer anyone who thinks rappers' or stand-up comics' abundant use of obscenities is a recent cultural phenomenon to the work of Catullus, especially Green's translation. Writing in the first-century B.C.E., the infamous Latin poet could turn quite the vulgar phrase when insulting his enemies or boasting about his sexual prowess. (Witnesseth: "Ameana, that fucked-out little scrubber...") Green's translations treat the bawdy ("Rotten slut, give back the writing tablets!") and the romantic ("Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred....") with equal care. With a lengthy introduction that explains his approach to the poems, copious notes on each translation and a glossary in case you've forgotten who Phaethon was, Green has aimed this volume at Latin novices, poetry lovers and fellow classicists. Aside from these extras and the side-by-side printing, which allows for easy comparisons between the translation and the original, what sets apart these versions of Catullus' poems is Green's attempt to bring complicated Latin meters into English. It is a noble goal, to be sure, but it leads to some awkward moments; meter or not, translating an insult as "sucks to the pair of you" or choosing the more literal "I am crucified" to express an emotional crisis in one of Catullus' shortest and best known poems read like works-in-progress, especially when compared with the majority of the translations' polished presentations. Despite its few rocky moments, this volume will expand any reader's understanding of Catullus and his poems, both bawdy and nice.
The Poems of Catullus
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  • £4.49
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: 28 January 2016
  • Publisher: William Collins
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: Collins Classics
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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