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Catullus | Cicero | Horace | Ovid | Vergil | Ancillae

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CATULLUS On this site:

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BRUCE ARNOLD, ANDREW ARONSON & GILBERT LAWALL, Love and Betrayal:  A Catullus Reader.  GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS:  PRENTICE HALL, INC., 2000.  pp 250.  ISBN 0-13-043345-4 (paperback, student edition), 0-13-043344-6 (paperback, teacher's guide).

Arnold, Aronson and Lawall have here cooperatively joined forces, so to speak, by combining previously published material on Catullus' poetry into one comprehensive volume which covers the current Advanced Placement syllabus.

The Introduction to the Student Edition includes a synopsis of the Greek poetic tradition before Catullus.  Callimachus and the Alexandrian poets are connected to the "poetae novi" in clear, understandable prose that an AP student will have no problem in digesting.  Catullus' acquaintances that are mentioned or alluded to in his poetry are also briefly discussed.  The authors also take care to mention the manuscript tradition and the arrangement of the poems as they have come down to us, providing an excellent springboard for classroom discussion.  A chronological "Time Line" immediately follows, spanning the years 84-44 B.C.  The authors then include two pages on "Using this Book," explaining their philosophy behind the glossed pages of poetry that eventually follow.  I am impressed that this kind of care is given to an already well-written and comprehensive aid to reading Catullus' poetry.  For example, 

"When reading a poem of Catullus from this book for the first time, one should not look at the facing vocabulary and notes at all but should read through the Latin of the poem, making as much sense of it as possible.  When reading it a second or third time, one usually goes from the right-hand page to the vocabulary on the left-hand page, noting the italicized meanings, especially the last one given, for any unfamiliar words, and back again to the right-hand page. Only after one has grasped the sense of the poem should one look more closely at the vocabulary entries, the grammatical notes, and the other information on the left-hand page" (p. 8).

This sort of advice is included in greater detail in the Teacher's Guide, which I will discuss at greater length below.  The above quote explains the basic format of the poem entries in the Student Edition:  running vocabulary with commentary are presented on the left page; Latin text of the poem and a variety of study questions are found on the right.  Sources for the vocabulary, commentary and questions are explicitly cited for the student on pp. 9-10.  Although the running vocabulary is specifically tailored around the Ecce Romani series, books I and II, I have found that the abundance of glossed words are adequate for AP-level students.

The "Poetic and Rhetorical Devices and Figures of Speech" section which follows includes all definitions that are printed in the Teacher's Guide to Advanced Placement Courses in Latin (marked with asterisks) plus others applicable to Catullus' poetry (unmarked with asterisks).  All entries also include specific Latin text citations from Catullus' poetry.  "The Meters of Catullus' Verse" section clearly shows the various patterns and labels encountered on the AP syllabus.  "Metrical Terms" are listed in the same manner as the "Poetic and Rhetorical Devices and Figures of Speech" section mentioned earlier.  Special case metrical terms include examples taken directly from Catullus' poetry.  A brief "Lexical and Grammatical Terms" section ends the larger Introduction to the Student Edition textbook.

The Student Edition is dotted with reproductions of paintings by Alma-Tadema, pottery, sculpture, frescoes, maps and line drawings, which enhance its visual appeal.  Seventeen pages of grammatical charts appear at the end of the book for student reference, followed by a vocabulary section that lists all words not already listed in the left-hand pages of the text.  The book is self-contained for the most part.

As for the Teacher's Guide, many suggestions are given for the AP teacher and the college professor to use in the classroom and give variety to presenting the material.  New AP teachers are encouraged to request various materials from the Educational Testing Service.  The ETS e-mail address, telephone number and mailing address are listed.  The Classical Outlook is also suggested for subscription because of its yearly AP Test assessments.  Variant manuscript readings and the importance of these details concerning Catullus' poetry are also mentioned, especially with respect to discrepancies between the published texts of Mynors and Thomson.  The study questions found in the Student Edition are categorized as either "Exploration," "Discussion" or "Comparison" questions.  The Teacher's Guide includes a sample answer for every question which "do not pretend to be definitive" by any means (p. 2).  The various questions provided for classroom use are plentiful and are not intended to be completely covered for every poem, yet these questions give teachers more options.  The Teacher's Guide suggests various ways in which they might be employed.  The Comparison questions are my personal favorite, including various English poetic translations, a Latin adaptation (i.e Catullus 4) and even a Greek original (by Sappho) with the Greek parsed for the teacher.  These questions are great for small and larger projects and essay assignments.  Literal English translations included for every poem will give a foundation for teachers who use the "chunking" method of grading translations, which are similar to the AP method of grading.  A substantial and particular bibliography is included for every poem, giving the teacher on the one hand, the option of presenting the students with additional sources for discussion or assignments.  On the other hand, the scholar also benefits from this comprehensive and up-to-date bonus of citations for these poems.

The philosophy behind the book is stated more directly to the teacher in the "Classroom Procedures" section.  The authors emphasize that the students "should never begin their reading without an idea of the general topic of the poem" (p. 3).  The provided titles and very brief introductions to each poem, as well as student brainstorming after the initial recitation in Latin, should provide the basic context for further analysis.  As for translation, "students should be strongly discouraged from writing out a full translation and reading directly from it in class.  They should make notes on new vocabulary, difficult constructions, and phrase groupings, but they should translate in class while looking at the Latin text itself" (p. 3).  Enlarged masters of every poem are included at the back of the Teacher's Guide for copying onto transparencies and/or for distribution to students on which to make their notes.  These "clean" versions of each poem can also serve as the initial text to be read aloud on first reading without being distracted by the running vocabulary.  Translations arrived at through class discussion, group work and teacher supervision should then be saved for study.  Reading aloud and even memorization of select poems for recitation are strongly encouraged.

Sections on  "How to Write Short Critical (i.e., AP-Style) Essays, "How to Lead an Effective Discussion" and "Projects and Activities" suggest many ways to diversify and enhance teaching the AP syllabus.  A section on "National Standards for Classical Language Learning" followed up with "Teaching for Multiple Intelligences" will aid teachers and curriculum directors in defining the AP curriculum for their school district.  More advice on "Comparing Catullus' Original Poems with Later Literary Translations," "Order in Which to Read the Poems" and "Coverage of the AP Catullus Syllabus" will especially assist teachers new to AP in general lesson planning for the year.  A general bibliography is included near the end that complements the specific lists already previously included with every poem.

In short, this publication is an excellent contribution to the teaching of Catullus' lyric poetry.

Andre Stipanovic

from the Summer 2000 issue of Texas Classics in Action

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  Comparing the Garrison text to the Lawall text. These comments originated on the Latinteach list.

Re: Garrison's text

All the poems are included with title that are suggestive of the content. How liberal is your school district? No running vocabulary or facing notes. High school students lose patience with flipping to the back of the book to read notes and to look up vocabulary. An introduction, but more concise than the background info in Lawall. A short scholarly glossary of terms and a section on metrics. Devoid of all illustrations except maps. No teacher's guide that I am aware of.

Lawall's text

Only the poems on the AP syllabus. Clear notes and running vocabulary facing each poem. Grammatical charts at the back. A fantastic teacher's guide with extensive analysis and sometimes a fresh interpretation of a poem. This is worth it for the AP teacher just starting out with Catullus. Occasionally poses a question in the notes, e.g. "ut: purpose or result? What is the clue?" Exploratory questions and further comparisons following each poem. These questions are suitable intros to AP essay topics. A few illustrations. Introduction with an overview of Catullus' life, characteristics of the Novi Poetae, a timeline, and a glossary of figures of speech. There is even a section on metrics.

I have used Garrison successfully when my choice of texts was limited, but it is geared more to the college student. Lawall's text speaks to the high school student and is overflowing with notes, vocabulary, and analytical commentary for the teacher. On the basis of the teacher's guide alone, I would vote for Lawall's Love and Betrayal.


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(There are no reviews of any Cicero texts at this time.)

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OVID On this site:

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(These comments originated in a discussion on the Latinteach internet mailing list when someone asked about Ovid texts that are available. I myself, the author of the following notes, am not currently teaching AP Latin but happened to have both texts on my bookshelf.)

I have a copy of the Ovid: Amores, Metamorphoses (selections) by Jestin and Katz, published by Bolchazy-Carducci.  It is an interesting text in that besides the typical modern textbook style with Latin above and vocab/grammar helps/hints below (as a primary guide), it also has at the back a question and answer section (as a secondary guide).  The questions are usually grammatical in nature and are to promote constructive thinking and problem solving.  These questions are in one narrow column with the answers next to it, so you can cover the answers up.  So, you might have a set of  question like these:

certa - modifies what noun in the line?

sagitta - what case?

(answers, which are directly to the right of the questions)

certa - modifies sagitta

sagitta - nom.

The line in question was:

certa quidem nostra est, nostra tamen una sagitta

In this case the adjective and noun were split up in the line; such questioning helps students make the connections themselves, esp when working on their own.  Since this is a secondary guide, it is placed at the back of the book so it won't be constantly relied upon but used when needed.

The appendices include figures of speech, meter, and a high-frequency word list (now that might be really handy), plus a glossary.

The text covers Amores 1.1, 1.3, 1.9, 1.11, 1.12, 3.15 plus Metamorphoses: Apollo and Daphne, Pyramus and Thisbe, Daedalus and Icarus, Philemon and Baucis, and Pygmalion.

There's also introductions to each section, info on Ovid, maps, illustrations, etc.

This is just from glancing at it so it may not be the best review, but it looks like a good first text of Ovid to me.

[Then someone reminded me that I had forgotten Rick LaFleur's Love and Transformation: an Ovid Reader, Addison-Wesley, which has four stories from the Metamorphoses (Daphne & Apollo, 1.452-567; Pyramus & Thisbe, 4.55-166; Orpheus & Eurydice (10.1-77); and Pygmalian, 10.238-97) and 6 poems from the Amores (1.1, 2, 9, 11, 12, and 3.15).]

Eegads!  How did I forget this book?? It is in its 2nd edition, which must stand for something, surely.

Glancing at it I see some differences from the Bolchazy-Carducci book.  For instance, there are discussion questions at the end of the sections; there are photo illustrations of reliefs, vases, frescos and paintings (spanning the centuries); there are a few snippets of poetry from Shelley, Donne, etc.

(Another person in the discussion made this comment:

If you're looking at a Latin 4 or an AP class, I would only recommend this book for the very beginning of the year.  The notes and running vocab can be a bit too helpful, and become something of a crutch.)

(Someone also mentioned that the teacher’s edition of the Jestin/Katz book has large text pages of the poems for making overheads…So then I decided to take a closer look at both.)

I've been reading bits and pieces of LaFleur's Ovid text and Jestin/Katz's Ovid text.  There are things I like about both texts and as a teacher I'm glad I have both and recommend teachers having both, quite honestly.  Which you will use with your students will depend on what you think there learning style is.

I have read the intro about Ovid's life in both.  If you have students that just want to cut to the point, the Jestin/Katz is for you.  But if you have students that want more--that need more meat and more interest, LaFleur's intro is far more interesting.  LaFleur gives you a feeling that he has a personal, invested interest in Ovid's life.  Some students, as we know, just may not be ready for that kind of information and may just want the facts.

I'm going to read Baucis and Philemon in both and see what I think.  I've read the intros in both and they are similar, but LaFleur does provide more interest and mentions more artists that have utilized the story, etc.  And while the LaFleur text does have some illustrations of great works of art, they are in black and white.  If I were going to mention these works of art, I'd want slides in color to show to the kids--not tiny pictures.  You certainly can't get a feeling for the strength and emotion of a painting by a tiny picture of it in black and white.

(my apologies for such ramblings--but it is better than no review at all! --Ginny Lindzey, Porter Middle School)

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HORACE On this site:

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Bender, Henry. A Horace Reader for Advanced Placement. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 1998. Pp 166. ISBN 0-941051-67-6.

The footnotes are ample, however there are not many comments on SWWIMMTTAG-sound, word choice, word order, images, meter, mood, tone, theme, allusions, grammar. The vocabulary lists are clear and concise using bold faced print for the Latin and regular for the English.

The dictionary in the back of the book was excellent and the additional chapters on figures of speech and meter were very helpful. Some exercises for the students would have made them even better.

I like the spiral bound book instead of a bound paperback because it stays open by itself which makes it easier to use. The photographs, however, were not all clear.

The table of contents and the list of illustrations improved the accessibility of this text. Omitting the macrons was a good way of preparing the students for the AP test. The table of important dates during Horace’s life in front is excellent.

Kerrie Miksch, McNeil High School

from the Winter 1999 issue of Texas Classics in Action

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WILLIAM S. ANDERSON (ED.), Why Horace?:  A Collection of Interpretations.  WAUCONDA, ILLINOIS:  BOLCHAZY-CARDUCCI PUBLISHERS, INC., 1999.  Pp 255.  ISBN 0-86516-417-7 (paperback), 0-86516-434-7 (hardbound).

William Anderson has edited a book that should appeal to all lovers of Horace.  Without being stated directly, this collection of essays addresses every selection from the current Advanced Placement syllabus for 2000 and 2001.  Most essays have been published previously in classical scholarly journals as early as 1956 and as late as 1989.  In addition to three other previously-published contributions, Anderson's "The Secret of Lydia's Aging: Horace Ode 1.25" is published for the first time in this book.

Anderson introduces his book with a straight-forward synopsis of Horace's life leading up to the poet's work on the Odes.  A comment on the variety and significance of Horatian meter is also included.  However, the editor disavows any detailed analysis of meter per se in the book, except as it supports the elements which make up Nietzsche's "mosaic" of Horatian visual artistry such as grammar and word choice to name but two.  Anderson refrains from summarizing any of the individual essays at this point and instead remains focused on Horace's poetry in the Introduction.  Anderson implies that the essays about Horace in this book must be allowed to speak for themselves, and he declares that "what these pages offer is a variety of interpretations of the individual odes selected and some guidance to the way the poet introduces and develops his favorite themes and situations" (p. vii).  As the Table of Contents confirms, the essays are presented in the order of the Horatian Ode that they primarily address.  Satire I.9 is positioned as the last essay in the book, in accordance with the AP syllabus order of poems.

Anderson's strategy for presenting this collection of essays to the reader involves the preliminary discussion of four major themes:  "(1) The poet and his vocation; (2) Love; (3) The importance of seizing the moment and enjoying it, in accordance with the injunction carpe diem; (4) The poet's response to the historical events of his lifetime and to Augustus" (p. vii).  As Anderson's Introduction continues by discussing each of these themes, he refers to the individual essays that follow when appropriate.  After reading through these thematic discussions, it became more clear why Anderson avoided organizing the essays in these thematic groupings.  He states parenthetically on page vii that some of these categories will "overlap."  What does Anderson's Introduction contribute to a reader's understanding of Horace that the essays themselves do not?  Not much, except that it will aid those new to Horace to a broad overview of the poet's accomplishments with these specific poems before encountering the more detailed analyses and arguments of the critics that are to follow.  Those with some experience with Horace will probably move more quickly to the individual essays.

Anderson's book is user-friendly to both the new and veteran Horace reader.  After the Introduction, the reader can go to any essay he or she prefers to delve into.  Most are identified in their title by their Horatian Ode or Satire and all are ordered in like manner.  In addition, each essay is briefly introduced and/or summarized by the editor, providing a preview for the "browsing" reader that is also consistent with the previous Introductory discussions and remarks.  As can be expected, the critical approaches vary from thematic to theoretical interpretations to various combinations of the two.  Endnotes document specific references and digressions.  A three-page bibliography is included at the end of the book.

With this book, William Anderson has provided a solid survey of Horatian scholarship in the second half of the twentieth-century that is directly applicable to the AP classroom.  AP teachers will find it useful for its variety of approaches and the many references to secondary sources.  AP students will also find it useful for expanding their own critiques and analyses on individual poems.  The essays are short enough for most AP students to grasp and still glean valuable citations and ideas for their own projects.  For Horace scholars in general, this collection is a valuable representation of the progression of Horatian scholarship in the last fifty years or so in one volume.

Andre Stipanovic

from the Summer 2000 issue of Texas Classics in Action

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VERGIL On this site:

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Boyd, Barbara Weiden. Vergil’s Aeneid 10 and 12: Pallas & Turnus. Wauconda, Illinois. Bolchazy-Carducci. 1998. ISBN 0-86516-415-0.

A couple of years ago, I was teaching Ovid’s wonderful tale of Acis and Galatea to my Latin IV students. We all thought it was excellent poetry and were struck by the beginning ". . . he was Acis . . ." and then, "except that his bace was blue, he was Acis." I must admit we mistranslated at first and said, "except that his mouth was blue" before noticing that the word was ora and not os. Then synecdoche kicked in and we got it right. But why mention this now? Because as I was reading the teacher’s guide to Barbara Weiden Boyd’s Vergil’s Aeneid:10 & 12: Pallas and Turnus, I noticed on p. 3 her translation of ore cruento as "bloody mouth." Wondering why she didn’t interpret it as synecdoche for "face," the whole memory flooded back into my mind. While reading the text itself, I learned that the image of  "biting the dust" comes from Homer. All this exemplifies how excellent Boyd’s teacher’s guide and notes to the text are. Just because I like to make connections, though, I wish she’d reminded her readers of Fury in Book I raging with a bloody mouth. That is about the only fault I can find with Boyd’s work.

The text is the text. The textbook will be excellent for use by Advanced Placement students. It almost slavishly follows the format of Pharr, but that’s certainly not inappropriate. The lines from Book X are 420-509 and from Book XII 791-842. The notes are more than scholarly: they are practical. More than once Boyd tells the reader in what word order to "take" a clause or phrase. This kind of information is often a salvation for students--and for teachers, too. The author has explained so very many things to the reader, and the notes are a virtual source of knowledge in and of themselves. The note to X.489 is a good example. In this note, Boyd teaches us that

the earth upon which Pallas falls is not in fact alien soil [terram hostilem], but is the territory of the Italians. The adjective thus reflects an emotional perception rather than a fact; it is also proleptic, in the sense that Pallas’ homeland will eventually fall into the hands of the Trojan enemy.

She ends this note with the information about the origin of the image of biting the dust. And we have traveled the full circle. I also wish tha tsomebody insome note, somewhere, some time, would make the connection to the first appearance in the Aeneid of Aeneas and the last appearance in the Aeneid of Turnus. "Solvuntur frigore membra" is used of both men, and I’ve always thought tha tVergil’s use of the identical clause for both men along with other details solidifies the idea that Turnus is a worthy foe to Aeneas. If he is not a worthy foe, then the victory is meaningless. But Boyd’s note on this section explains only indignata. So I guess that is a second "fault" I can find with the work.

All in all, I like what I must call the set, for the teacher’s guide just makes the whole thing worthwhile. Anybody can pull lines out of a work, but not everyone can bring the lines alive and make the text work the way Boyd has with the notes. Finally, there are six pages of good to excellent discussion questions in the teacher’s guide, printed appropriately, I think, without suggested answers, since they are meant to be take off points for discussion. Of course some of them would make excellent essay prompts for practice tests for the Advanced Placement Virgil Exam also. This book was a joy to review.

Gaylan DuBose, Fulmore Middle School and Guardian Angel Academy

from the Winter 1999 issue of Texas Classics in Action

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  McKay, Alexander G. and Roger Hornsby, eds.; William J. Mayer & Joseph F. O’Connor, contributors. Arma Virumque: Heroes at War. Oxford, Ohio. The Campanian Society, Inc. 1998. 2 Volumes. Volume I ISBN: 0-96627-632-9. Volume II ISBN: 0-96627-631-0.

A few years ago, when Alexander G. McKay was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of TCA, I was struck by his excellent scholarship. Looking into this excellent edition of Vergil’s Aeneid, 10.420-509 and 12.791-842 and 887-952, has reinforced my opinion of the excellence of his scholarship.

Volume I is a student text/workbook. Again, the text is the text. The editors give near the beginning of the volume a synopsis of Aeneid 7 through 12 which should be very helpful for the student of Advanced Placement Lain in seeing the big picture of the last half of the epic. There are also wonderful charts on the structure of Books 10 and 12 that point out the basic tripartite structure of the Aeneid on the whole. There are also good articles on such topics as the divine machinery in the epic. I am terribly impressed with the section on how to translate, which actually teaches the student to break down the lines into "sense units." The editors even include a section on how to write a good AP essay. I could go on and on about the help the editors have included for the student, and of course the teacher, especially one who is teaching the curriculum for the first time.

The sections for study are brief, a favorable aspect. Each lesson has first the vocabulary for that section, then the text, then study questions, then notes, then a lined page for translation and the student’s own notes. The notes are excellent and helpful, the study questions thought-provoking.

Volume II is a companion resource volume for teachers and college students. It contains more information on structure, information on characters, information on the "Homeric Dimension" of the Aeneid, maps, and even an article on Vergil’s cinematic art. Of course there are "ponies" galore. (I am not sure I should approve this volume for college students.) There are also suggested answers for the study questions. All in all, Volume II is a more, much more, than adequate teacher’s guide. These volumes are excellent, and I recommend them highly with the one reservation about Volume II.

P.S. I still did not find a note on my "Solvuntur frigore membra."

Gaylan DuBose, Fulmore Middle School and Guardian Angel Academy

from the Winter 1999 issue of Texas Classics in Action

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ROME'S GOLDEN POETS: a cappella settings of Latin verse. Sung by the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus. Distributed by Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers

This beautiful and sensitive recording is a treasure, and it is well worth  the extra introduction and preparation needed to make it suitable for the  normal Latin class more familiar with MTV than with motets. Two poems of  Catullus, three excerpts from the Aeneid, and fourteen excerpts from  Horace have been set to music by composers ranging from Josquin des Prez in  the fifteenth century to Tucapsky and Stroope who are alive today. The  booklet which accompanies the recording includes Latin text and references,  English translations by well-known scholars, and a good discussion of the composers and their handling of the material.

A discussion given by a local choir director or a special report given by a  music student would be a good introduction to this work. The study might begin with the final selection, which, unlike the other twenty-three, is nota classical text. This singing of "Old Horatius had a Farm" in Latin and in fine musical style is fun, and should lead into the study nicely. A second presentation might well be selection three, which is a musical  setting of Vergil's description of Fama (Aeneid, Book IV, lines 173-177)  by Josquin des Prez. The composer uses word-painting very effectively. The two lower voices are echoed by the upper pair so that Fama, Malum is spread  through the singers just as Rumor, the Evil is spread from person to person.  The rhythm intensifies on the word "velocius" and the words rise as Rumor  grows from puny to haughty. The intense conclusion suggests Rumor fully erect, with her head in the clouds.

The singers vary their pronunciation, sometimes using classical and sometimes ecclesiatical Latin. In some songs the words are easier to distinguish than in others, partially because of the musical motifs used.  After Fama good choices would be Rectius Vives and Iam Satis Terris for  their clarity of diction and Nunc Est Bibendum for its interpretation of the  material.

This is a work which can provide a growing opportunity for both teachers and  students; it is well worth the time and effort it may require.

Rose Williams
from the Summer 2000 issue of Texas Classics in Action


USEFUL BOOKS TO HAVE (from Leslie Perkins)

Nussbaum: Vergil's Metre: A Practical Guide for Reading Latin Hexameter Poetry. The best thing I've found on talking to kids about metre. I'm not very sophisticated when it comes to metrics. This book works for me. There's a section on Horace and Catullus in the back.

Thomsen: Ritual and Desire: Catulus 61 and 62 and other Ancient Documents on Wedding and Marriage. This is the best thing I've ever read on Carmen 62. I love it.

M. Owen Lee: Fathers and Sons in Virgil's Aeneid
This is the key to teaching the new material at the end of the Aeneid.
The first year's essays could have come out of this book.

J.W.H. Atkins, Literary Criticism in Antiquity
The chapter on the development of rhetorical theory is useful. The last chapter is invaluable for insights into the Alexandrine poets as well as the faults of the Asiatic style in oratory.

M. Owne Lee (I love this guy): Word, Sound, and Image in the Odes of Horace. This is a wonderful discussion of Horatian style. Especially good on figures of speech.

Wilkinson: Ovid Recalled
The chapter on the history of the elegaic couplet is very useful for both Ovid and Catullus.

David West: Reading Horace
Good for odes 4.7, 1.11, 1.13, 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.7, and 1.8. His discussion of 1.11 was the best part.

Roger A. Hornsby, Patterns of Action in the Aeneid: An Interpretation of Vergil's Epic Similes. This is my favorite work of literary criticism. I consider it indispensable.


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Last update: Sept 7, 2002. This site was created September 1998 by Ginny Lindzey, Webmistress, Texas Classical Association. To report problems and errors, please contact Ginny at ginlindzey@lindzey.us