Sunday, November 17, 2013


Poetry and Prosopography

Eduard Fraenkel (1888-1970), "Two Poems of Catullus," Journal of Roman Studies 51 (1961) 46-53 (at 49), rpt. in his Kleine Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie, Bd. II (Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1964), pp. 115-129 (at 120-121):
Students of ancient literature who are inclined to regard most of their work as an auxiliary branch of prosopography and who, moreover, have a passion for solving puzzles thought up for the purpose have long been busy asking the question 'who is the lady (if that is the right word to use) in Catullus' poem XLII?'. I cannot join them, for I never try to ask a question when I see that the poet is determined not to answer it. Things which a poet worth the name does not mention are always wholly irrelevant to the understanding of his poem.

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