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The Books of Catullus
Edited by Simon Smith
Translated by Simon Smith
RRP: GBP 10.39
ISBN: 978 1 784105 51 8
Categories: Ancient Greek and Roman, Language, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Classics
Published: March 2018
192 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback
Digital access available through Exact Editions
The Books of Catullus is the first full English translation to take the Roman poet at his word. Simon Smith’s versions are scholarly yet eccentric, mapping theme and register to contemporary equivalents (such as poem 16, which echoes Frank O’Hara). He divides Catullus’s complete verses into three ‘books’, the form in which it is thought the poems were originally received. ‘Smith gets the all-important rhythm of Catullus, whose meters, like all else about this poet, are deceptively complex’, writes Vincent Katz. ‘He achieves a delicious frisson again and again by fusing the classical and the contemporary. The reader is repeatedly pleasured by unexpected felicities.’ (Peter Hughes)
'Smith manages to keep the balance between being timeless and being modern, so that these poems come to life, seem immediately relevant'
Tina Röck, DURA
'These new translations of Catullus reveal to us two poets at work and the correspondence between the two opens up a freshness of speech which is a delight to hear.'
Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence
'Here is a poet entirely in sympathy with Catullus and concerned to represent his poems as faithfully as possible, opened to the contemporary reader.'
Peter Riley, The Fortnightly Review
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