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Reading Catullus$
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John Godwin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675631

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675631.001.0001

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Obscenity and Humour

Obscenity and Humour

(p.93) Chapter 5 Obscenity and Humour
Reading Catullus

John Godwin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores Catullus' use of humour and obscenity in his poetry writing. It is said that publishing Catullus' work in the past has proven to be difficult, owing to the obscene content of some of his poems. Old editions would often leave out the offensive poems altogether, and some editions left Catullus' rude passages untranslated or replaced with dots. The chapter argues that Catullus' use of obscenity in poetry shows his mastery in mingling the sublime and the ridiculous, which proves that he could write poetry out of anything at all.

Keywords:   obscenity, humour, Catullus, poetry, poetry writing

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