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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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First and Last Things

First and Last Things

(p.116) Chapter 6 First and Last Things
Reading Catullus

John Godwin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the arrangement of the poems in the Book of Catullus, and analyses the importance of the first and last poems in the anthology. It shows that Catullus ordered his 116 poems into three groups: poems one to sixty are poems in a variety of metres; poems sixty-one to sixty-eight are the long poems; and poems sixty-nine to one hundred and sixteen are poems with elegiac couplets. The chapter explains that the first poem serves as both a preface and a dedication, addressed to Cornelius Nepos, Catullus' contemporary. It is said that the final poem serves as a closure to the reader, as if acting like a poet's signature at the end of a piece.

Keywords:   poems, Catullus, Cornelius Nepos, long poems, elegiac couplet, preface

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