Of all the Roman poets Catullus is the most accessible for the modern reader. His poems range from the sublimely beautiful to the scatologically disgusting, from the world of heroic epic poetry to the dirt of the Roman streets. This accessible book, which assumes no prior knowledge of the poet or of Roman poetry in general, explores Catullus in all his many guises. In six concise chapters Godwin deals with the cultural background to Catullus' poetic production, its literary context, the role of love, Alexandrian learning and obscenity and, in the final chapter, considers the coherence and rationale of the collection as a whole. Each chapter is illustrated by readings of a number of poems, chosen to give a representative overview of Catullus' poety. All quotations from the text are translated and a brief discursive section of `Further Reading' is provided at the end of each chapter. A timeline giving dates of authors mentioned and full bibliography is also supplied.
John Godwin was for many years Head of Classics at Shrewsbury School, UK. His publications include 'Horace: Selected Odes' (Bloomsbury, 2018), 'Ovid: Metamorphoses III: An Extract' (Bloomsbury 2013), 'Lucretius' (Bloomsbury 2004), 'Reading Catullus' (Bristol Phoenix Press, 2008) and editions of Lucretius: De Rerum Natura Books IV and VI and the complete works of Catullus for the Aris & Phillips Classical Texts series.