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The Poems

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3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  249 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Of all the great classical love poets, Propertius (c. 50-10 BC) is surely one of those with most immediate appeal for readers today. His helpless infatuation for the sinister figure of his mistress Cynthia forms the main subject of his poetry and is analysed with a tormented but witty grandeur in all its changing moods, from ecstasy to suicidal despair.
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Published January 7th 1986 by Penguin Classics (first published -29)
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Yann


Toujours dans la veine des poètes latins, après un Catulle tout à la fois impétueux et tendre, après un Tibulle irénique et volage, voici Properce, passionnément fidèle et attaché à sa Cynthie, et terriblement voluptueux. C'est sans doute de ces trois auteurs le plus vivant, le plus touchant et celui qui donne le plus de présence à cette antiquité disparue. Properce célèbre les délices de l'amour, et rien de ce qui peut le rendre plus piquant ne semble lui être étranger.

Il y a tout d'abord une
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Evan Leach
“I wish my enemy a placid girl-friend.” (iii. 8. 20)

Luckily (from the poet's perspective), Propertius was not cursed with a placid girlfriend. Instead, he fell for a woman named Cynthia who drove him so crazy that he devoted most of his poetry towards memorializing their schizophrenic relationship.

Unlike Horace and Virgil, Propertius focused his efforts on love poems in the style of Catullus. This book contains all of 92 of them, divided into four books published from roughly 29 to 15 b.c. All
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Jenna
Aug 31, 2014 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest: I only read the first two volumes of this book in their entirety, then skimmed the last two volumes. My current interest is in love poetry, not poetry about the greatness of Caesar, etc., after all. While it seems that this is the most scholarly/well-researched translation out there, I was rather disappointed by the fact that it doesn't read like poetry at all. This translation is a prose translation -- a fact that needn't necessarily have been a limitation (there *is* such a thi ...more
Caroline
Mar 07, 2013 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Translations are very stilted in the first book , which is reputedly the freshest and most revolutionary of the poetry that Propertius wrote. They become smoother and easier to read in the following books.
Roman Clodia
Jun 09, 2016 Roman Clodia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following Catullus' Lesbia poems, Propertius is the first of the Latin erotic elegists proper and has a deep influence on Ovid. Guy Lee's translation is fluent and flowing but doesn't really convey the texture of the Latin originals.

The Cynthia poems which sit at the heart of the Propertian texts go on to have a profound impact on the dynamics of erotic love as represented in western literature so it is definitely worth reading this first to see how literary erotic love develops under Petrarch,
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charlotte
Apr 02, 2007 charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Propertius is ridiculously hard to capture in English, but Katz does a darn good job, and hey, he gives the Latin, too! Some folks like the intensely personal portrait of an emotional young man in love with a high-maintenance woman. Great stuff. I like the anti-Augustan, anti-militarism undertones. If you want to know where the medieval court poets got all that stuff about the lover's abasement to his lady, this is a good place to start. The tradition of the servile lover just never gets old, no ...more
A. J. McMahon
Aug 23, 2015 A. J. McMahon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just could not get anything at all from any of the poems. It might be that everything was entirely lost in translation, or it might be that I lack the cultural mind-set to respond to a communication from Ancient Rome. Tedious from beginning to end, for me at any rate.
Evelyn Eve
There was a fair blend of comedy and tragedy in this one...and quite a few moments where the lines were blurred...but all in all, nothing that really struck my fancy. I read it mostly to branch out a bit from the typical ancient epic poem (Beowulf, Edda, so on so on) but was reminded mid-book why I prefer Action, Adventure, and Fantasy over the genres of Drama and Romance.
Vikram Kumar
Mar 03, 2014 Vikram Kumar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These poems are absolutely brilliant. Occasionally the editor makes some rather polemic changes, such as capitalizing certain words that should not be personified. Some sentences are also put in different places. Nevertheless, the true magic is in the poems of Propertius, which take one upon a journey of musings and imagination.
James Violand
Jan 30, 2015 James Violand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A delightful read, though how much is owed to the translator's talent is a valid question. Still, the world of Ancient Rome becomes current with the same struggles we all deal with in some way. Even though the elegies are profane, they are enjoyable and Propertius's humor and curse of loving a courtesan is entertaining.
Cynthia
May 11, 2010 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably only deserves 3 stars as it's not as amazing as Ovid, but he writes all of his love poems to Cynthia. Extra star for having a mistress with such a cool name.
Janet Martinez
Oct 28, 2012 Janet Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very nice&concise translation but-still prefer my loeb propertius but-i think only because-it's the one i was originally exposed to when i took latin in high school
David
Nov 04, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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281391
Sextus Aurelius Propertius was a Latin elegiac poet who was born around 50–45 BCE in Mevania (though other cities of Umbria also claim this dignity—Hespillus, Ameria, Perusia, Assisium) and died shortly after 15 BCE.

Propertius' surviving work comprises four books of Elegies. He was friends with the poets Gallus and Virgil, and had with them as his patron Maecenas, and through Maecenas, the emperor
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“Trapassa anche le sponde del fato un grande amore.” 1 likes
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