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The Poems of Catullus: A Bilingual Edition

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  5,187 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Catullus, who lived during some of the most interesting and tumultuous years of the late Roman Republic, spent his short but intense life (?84-54 B.C.E.) in high Roman society, rubbing shoulders with various cultural and political luminaries, including Caesar, Cicero, and Pompey. Catullus's poetry is by turns ribald, lyric, romantic, satirical; sometimes obscene and always ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published September 15th 2005 by University of California Press (first published -60)
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Your Saturnalian bonne-bouche

I'm bubbling with a lot of writing, at least a dozen reviews are raring to spill forth; it would be a shame to let this heat slide off into a deadened feeling you get when you remember a book read long ago but retain nothing of it, because you had not taken the care to record your impressions. Over the years I have discovered that the best way to remember a book is to write about it. This doesn't always materialise though. Life, you see.

I read this Penguin ed
Aug 10, 2015 Steve added it
Shelves: latin, poetry

1st century BCE portrait from Pompeii

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

In the mid-1st century BCE the Roman Republic was stumbling to a close, torn by the struggles between factions of the Roman aristocracy trying to hold onto its wealth and influence, the rising merchants and bankers - some of whom were obscenely wealthy and holding the financial lifeline of many aristocrats - and the uncountable plebians driven off their farms by the aristoc

L'abandon d'Ariane

Le temps où je remettais à plus tard l'exploration de la poésie latine est révolu. J'ai une préférence pour le grec, mais cet ouvrage (l'émancipation féminine Dans La Rome Antique) a piqué ma curiosité quant aux mœurs romaines de la fin de la République et du début de l'Empire: en route pour l'Italie! Catulle est un Romain du 1er siècle avant notre ère, contemporain de la fin de la République. On trouve ici plus d'une centaine de poèmes plus ou moins longs, et dont les vers son
Peter Green's exuberantly bitchy translation of the complete poems of the Roman poet Catallus never fails to amuse, amaze, and indeed shock, which was certainly the poet's original intent. With far too many earlier translations of these viscerally human poems, translators have tried to protect us from the full onslaught of both Catallus' subject and language. Not here. For once, we feel an uncensored direct connection to a person who lived more than 2000 years ago. We see how he's just like us, ...more
Evan Leach
”In bed I read Catullus. It passes my comprehension why Tennyson could have called him ‘tender.’ He is vindictive, venomous, and full of obscene malice. He is only tender about his brother and Lesbia, and in the end she gets it hot as well.”

- Harold Nicolson, Diaries and Letters 1945-1962.

Catullus was a Roman poet that lived through some of the most tumultuous days of the Roman Republic, from about 84-54 b.c. He spent his short life socializing in the best of circles, and his poetry contains ja
Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire,
et quod vides perisse perditum ducas.
Fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles,
cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat
amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla.
Ibi illa multa tum iocosa fiebant,
quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat.
Fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.
Nunc iam illa non vult: tu quoque impotens noli,
nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive,
sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.
Vale puella, iam Catullus obdurat,
nec te requiret nec rogabit invitam.
At tu dolebis, cum rog
Vulgar, obscene, offensive, yet often hilarious, sometimes beautiful and incredibly moving. Catullus poems are powerful and always packed with emotion. Many modern readers will probably find him very relatable as well. He rages against his ex-lover Lesbia and calls her a whore in several poems (and not in a roundabout way either) yet is still obviously madly in love with her. He both praises and insults his friends and fellow poets, and often accuses them of questionable sexual practices. My fav ...more
Catullus is a great Latin poet whose verse is astonishingly contemporary in the treatment of his themes of love and betrayal. Most of his poems are brief, less than 20 lines, and about a third of these are about his love affair with Lesbia, who is probably Clodia, a married woman from one of Rome's leading families. Other poems deal with his friendships and betrayals, including some delightful insults. In addition, there are eight longer poems, including two marriage songs, a poem about Attis wh ...more
no one has differentiated translators yet, this one picked at random. copley was my favorite before garrick turned me onto carl sesar's, first one to do justice to the extraordinary level of obscenity of the original
One does not find humorous poems about rape to be beautiful as well everyday, but such is the magic of this exquisite poet from the time of Caesar and Cicero. Catullus' subject is, invariably, the feelings of rapture or disgust associated with love and hatred; his style is at once polished and crude, surrounding the words testicle or cock with adjectives of wonder and grace. Surprisingly, the National Review occasionally prints Catullus but, then again, the right-wing is well known for sexual re ...more
Catullus. THE POEMS OF CATULLUS. ****. This was an edition published by The Folio Society in 1981, ably translated by James Michie. What’s particularly nice about this edition is that it contains the Latin and the corresponding English translation on facing pages. Even though I had four years of Latin in high school and grew up with the Latin Mass, I don’t remember enough to translate this stuff anymore. You can scan the Latin, however, and get the sense of the poems and then swing your eyes ove ...more
Catullus is one of the greatest Roman poets. Had a single manuscript of his collection not been discovered in Verona c. 1300, he would have been lost to us forever. It would be hard to point to a collection of poems that is more passionately intense, thematically wide ranging and skilfully executed than that of Catullus. It is all here: erotic love, friendship, travel, principles of poetic composition, political operators, poetasters, prostitutes, dinner invitations, socially inept wannabes, pos ...more
Leggendo i carmi di Catullo di ha l'impressione che la Bellezza – quella con la B maiuscola, appunto – esista. E che Catullo abbia saputo metterla nero su bianco in tutto il suo fulgore. E vi consiglio la lettura dell'edizione Einaudi, dove i carmi sono ben tradotti e il commento è utile per la comprensione dei componimenti.

La mia donna dice che non vuol stare con nessun altro,
neanche se la chiedesse Giove in persona.
Così dice, ma quello che dice una donna all'amante appassionato,
va scritto sul
Martin Michalek
Last summer (2012) I began learning Latin with Catullus, which is both a good idea and a bad idea. It's a bad idea only in the sense that many of the poems were approached with a dictionary rather than a vocabulary in my head, and it is very tough to recreate reading a poem for the first time. Having said that, it such an experience doesn't eliminate "getting" a poem, and in the past year I've come to really get Catullus — not just as poetry but as a poet.

Catullus is my favourite Latin poet. He
Catullus is probably my favourite Latin poet. After years of Virgil, Ovid and Tacitus in my Latin class, Catullus was a breath of fresh air. My friends and I even recited some of his poems to each other during recess, which either means we were total geeks or that Catullus is just loads of fun. With those memories in mind, I picked up this volume of his collected works and I was not disappointed. No epic poems or myths here, but bawdy, funny and totally inappropiate poems. 80% of his work is abo ...more
Adam  McPhee
Catullus 85
I hate and I love. Perhaps you ask why?
I do not know, but I feel it happen and I am torn apart.

Kind of a weird translation, compared to others I've looked at. I think you do the poet a disservice when you shy away from the most vulgar language available. And that's exactly why I read Catullus, although I was surprised to find some deeper poetry as well.

85, obviously, but others too. I found 55 and 58b to be quite touching: Catullus depicts himself searching the city for a friend he c
Cassandra Kay Silva
What a sensual, torrid, and beautifully composed set of work is this? I am speechless. Catullus your words are like silk. Your stories and musings on human behavior are debauchery at its best. And Ha! The poem regarding your defense of flowery rhetoric. For you are fed wine and grapes in abound and surrounded by ladies night and day. In truth who could fault you for such as this! Oh a man who knows women, and knows his way around the written word is a rare and delicious treat.
Copley's translation turns Catullus into a Cummings of the streets, a Latin Villon. It's very fun reading at times, but often leaves behind just how lyrical Catullus could be in favour of a more idiomatic prosody. But it's still probably my favourite translation I've read thus far, especially over the dry Guy Lee edition. Of course, it is also hard to find, so I'd recommend finding the more widely available Peter Green translations in its stead—which are also more than adequate.

he to me wholly g
Catherine Woodman
This Roman Neoteric poet lived from 84-54 BCE and he knew everyone there was to know in his time. He died before Caesar was threatened by Pompey and in response crossed the Rubicon River and embroiled the Roman Republic in a Civil War, so he did not have to ultimately choose sides there, but he had a lot to say about politicians, statemen, his friends, his lovers, and life in general. He reminds me of a blogger of today--if someone caught his fancy or pissed him off, he wrote a poem naming names ...more
An uneven collection, and definitely not what would come to mind when I hear the term "immortal poetry", yet it certainly has it's charms. Catallus at his best approaches the sublime with Homeric lyricism worthy of the greats. At his worst his poems come accross as petty and childish. A few too many of the poems in this collection are of the latter variety for my liking, but I suppose since Catallus is still being read 2000 years after his death he must have been doing something right. Unlike so ...more
Questo libro è quello che mi ha fatto concepire il mio amore per la letteratura latina e per la poesia tutto in un colpo solo.
Catullo mi ha sorpreso perchè nei suoi scritti traspaiono i diversi lati della sua personalità, tralasciando il fatto dell'io lirico per cui nanche se le poesie sono in prima persona non vuol dire che i fatti siano accaduti a lui personalmente, ed è assolutamente attuale, potrebbe essere benissimo me, se avessi una relazione burrascosa come quella avuta con Lesbia/Clodia.
Published 1966 by Macgibbon & Kee Ltd
Copyright by C H Sisson 1966 (translator)
Printed in Great Britain by Ebenezer Baylis & Son Ltd
The Trinity Press

Died in 54 B.C., age 30.
"Reading him, we are brought face to face with the Roman world. By Vergil and Horace the blinds were drawn, but in the world of Julius Caesar the lid was off, and Catullus is the poet of that age."
He is simple and direct, slangy and obscene, his obscenity having often proved a stumbling block to his appreciation.
The se
Jan 16, 2010 Abraham rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of poety and/or Ancient Rome
Shelves: greco-roman
I found it very difficult not to like this fellow, this apolitical Roman playboy who survives to us as much from luck as from skill as a poet. His character is what most enthralled me. He often appears like a fifteen year-old boy: love-sick on one hand; hot-tempered, always getting into scuffles in the school yard on the other. Occasionally, he is solemn, as in the few poems he wrote to console friends after personal tragedies. Occasionally, he uses lofty language and obscure references -- but h ...more
A fascinating personality. Some of these poems are beautiful and tender, some are shocking even to 2012 sensibilities (how many of today's poets threaten to sodomize or irrumate their rivals? how many of our love poets ask their girlfriend to come over at lunchtime for "nine consecutive sex sessions" because they are "poking a hole through my ), some are playful and witty. I enjoyed the diversity of these little lyrics, and the different moods that he is able to express successfully.

Consider the
Whyte does a remarkable job at translating and has rendered many of the poems into flowing, clever verse that reflects, as is his aim "the spirit of Catullus."

However, there are some major problems. It turns out that his book really should have been called Catullus: Heterosexual. Really. because Whyte appears to have systematically culled any lines or poems that could construe/indicate/suggest that Catullus may have ever thought of a man in a more than friendly kind of way. He has not culled jus
Darran Mclaughlin
Catullus strikes a different note to what I have read of other Latin poets like Virgil, Horace or Ovid. His work seems more personal, earthy (occasionally filthy) and urban. His work seems less consciously and grandly Roman, and he alludes less to politics, military glory and mythology than he does to friends, lovers, dinner parties and literary and sexual rivalry. I recall seeing him compared to Baudelaire once before and that does give some indication of what to expect but the big difference i ...more
Caius Valerius Catullus is without question one of Roman literature’s most unfiltered voices. Witty, brash, and bawdy, he is so coarse, at times, that he may make you blush; but he is always so sincere that you can’t help but find him endearing. Born in Verona, sometime around 84 BC, Catullus spent most of his brief adult life (he died when only 30) at Rome, where he was neck deep in a society that was morally and politically fractured and crumbling fast.

His poetry bares all his preoccupation w
Catullus, at least in this collection, likes to style the poems as sort of letters to friends and such. There is invariably a name or names mentioned, and while I imagine this made the poems effective in the day when the readers were familiar with the people mentioned (or at least made readers speculate as to the true identities of the ones hidden behind code names like Lesbia to whom Catullus was obviously in love and probably carrying on an affair), today some nuances will have been lost espec ...more
Brown’s Catullus is an experiment in translation, really an intervention to save translation from the academic taxidermists who empty, re-stuff, and try to fix the classics into their original positions. His method “resists the binary of fidelity and treason which haunts the apprehension of the activity called translation” by “[acknowledging] the fact of detour” as “the preceding writing is absorbed by the body of the translator in the act of reading.”

That’s about all the theory you’ll need to
Laura Walin
Sekalaiset tunnelmat tästä sekalaisesta runokokoelmasta. Skaala ulottui rivoista säkeistä mitä lyyrisimpiin rakkaudentunnustuksiin ja aiheet eritekuvauksista luonnonnäkymien ihailuun. Jatkan edelleen sen ihmettelyä, että kaikki näissä antiikin teoksissa kerrottu tuntuu oudolla tavalla tutulta, sen verran hyvin aiheet ja teemat edelleen kiertävät populaarikultturissa.
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  • Odes and Epodes (Loeb Classical Library)
  • Idylls
  • The Erotic Poems
  • Epigrams
  • The Poems
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • The Eclogues: Dual Language Edition
  • Sappho: A New Translation
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • The Odes
  • The Comedies
  • The Satyricon
  • Pro M. Caelio Oratio
  • The Pot of Gold and Other Plays
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 BC – ca. 54 BC) was a Roman poet of the 1st century BC. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art. Catullus invented the "angry love poem."
More about Catullus...
The Student's Catullus I Hate and I Love (Little Black Classics, #69) Catullus. Tibullus. Pervigilium Veneris Catullus Writing Passion: A Catullus Reader

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“Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.”
“Odi et amo; quare fortasse requiris, nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

(my translation: I hate and I love, you ask why I do this, I do not know, but I feel and I am tormented)”
More quotes…