Why Horace? : A Collection of Interpretations

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Author: William Anderson
Product Code: 4347
ISBN: 978-0-86516-434-5
Pages: 272
Availability: In stock.
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Why Horace? William Anderson in his introduction offers compelling reasons, echoed by the interpretative essays chosen for this volume.


Horace brings a maturity and artistry to his subjects not found elsewhere in Roman poetry. The son of a former slave, Horace brings a new voice to the poetry of his time. In Horace's hands, poetic tropes and standard topics take a new turn: his musings on love and interpretations of the carpe diem theme amuse and amaze readers who thought they'd heard the last word on these subjects. Furthermore, the number of meters Horace used and perfected surpasses those of his poetic predecessors; words in his poems are masterfully placed in mosaic-like, intricate patterns.


Horace is an innovator on the subject of the poet and his lyric vocation. Whether he is being crowned by the Muse, escaping death in battle through the intervention of Mercury, slipping the clutches of an ambitious bore with the help of Apollo, or miraculously turning away a monstrous wolf by singing love poetry, Horace challenges his readers to ponder the place of the poet in our world.


Horace lived during a period of momentous change in Rome. He wrote about Augustus and reflected on the political scene in Rome and the Empire in every book of his poetry. This scene not only serves as the backdrop for the poems, but also informs and expands the poems' meanings even as they reflect an intimate picture of these tumultuous times.

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Review by: Andre Stipanovic, Texas Classics in Action - September 30, 2005
...a book that should appeal to all lovers of Horace... 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.
Review by: Sjarlene Thom, University of Stellenbosch - September 30, 2005
The essays on these poems were each carefully chosen to illustrate a central point which is crucial to the understanding of a poem, or to represent an illuminating reading of the poem in question. For any teacher who has to strike a balance between teaching the poetry of Horace and introducing students to other people’s work on Horace this volume will be most welcome.The introduction to each essay, the general enthusiasm of the critics for their subject and the variety of approaches represented here make the volume an ideal initial companion on the voyage of discovering a rather elusive poet.
Review by: Jeanne O'Neil, Classical Outlook - September 30, 2005
William Anderson’s Why Horace? addresses the Advanced Placement* Latin student who may have voiced the complaint of the title ‘Why do I (or we) have to read Horace of all people?’ (v). The book’s focus is Horace the lyric poet; with the exception of Anderson’s essay on Satire 1.9, the various articles treat poems from Odes 1-3 exclusively, in keeping with the book’s AP audience... Anderson authored four of the articles, including the only one first appearing in this volume. The remaining articles, written by well-known Horatian scholars, range in publication dates from the 1950s (one), 60s (four), 70s (five), and 80s (ten), none from the past decade. Although some of the articles may be tough going for high-school students, Anderson’s compilation will be a useful addition to the AP class. The book provides a good introduction to scholarly discussions on Horace’s work an a point of departure for class discussion.
Review by: Merton College, Oxford J.S.C. Eidinow, Classical Review - February 1, 2002
The fundamental aim of Anderson's collection is to provide students for the American Advanced Placement examination, who may be encountering Horace for the first time, witha selection of critical essays by established scholars (including Rudd, Segall, Davis, Ancona, Johnson, Fitzgerald, Woodman, Moles, Putnam, and A. himself). Of the twenty-one papers included, twenty address the Odes (eleven are on Odes 1, four on Odes 2, four on Odes 3, and one on Odes 4): the remaining one is A.'s well-known paper on Satires 1.9 (AJP77[1956], 148). All but one of these papers--some of which have been edited for inclusion, and one of which (Witke on the Roman Odes) is extracted from a longer monograph --have been reprinted from elsewhere. (The exception is by A. himself, "The Secret of Lydia's Aging: Horace, Ode 1.25', in which he seeks to explain Lydia's apparent aging between Odes 1.13 and 25 as a rhetorical ploy, presented from an unsympathetic and exploitative male perspective, to gain her attention.) The essays espouse a challenging range of approaches. Ancona, for example, explores the gender-specificity of desire in Vitas inuleo; Gregson Davis examines Integer vitae in terms of literary-generic antithesis; Fitzgerald makes a very unconvincing attempt on Persicos odi and O fons Bandusiae with Barthesian theories of jouissance. The best of the collection, however, is in a different mode; Mole's careful and convincing analysis of O saepe mecum in historical context; A. on Satires 1.9; Woodman's well-known essay (from T. Woodman, D. West (edd.), Quality and Pleasure in Latin Poetry [Cambridge, 1974] on Exegi monumentum; and Segal's elegant dissection of the love-triangle in Cum tu, Lydia and the irony of its final stanza. The editorial voice is heard in a short note to each essay (not holding back from criticism of the essay to which it is prefaced), and in a brief introduction to the collection as a whole, where it sketches a familiar answer to the title-question by reference to the poet's 'life of considerable activity in a period of momentous changes' and his supreme poetic artistry. Much of this collection will be familiar to Horatians and will be readily accessible to them, and I doubt whether university libraries are likely to see the need for it; sixth-form libraries, on the other hand, might find it an interesting addition to their shelves.
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