A critical study of Persius’ poetic aims, aversions and techniques, based mainly on an extended analysis of Satires I. John Bramble shows how Persius’ discontent with conventional literary language led him to compress the existing satiric idiom and create a powerful individual style. The author situates Persius’ work in the tradition of Roman satire, and shows how he takes the concepts and metaphors of literary criticism back to their physical origins, to indict moral and literary decadence through a series of images connected with, for example, gluttony and sexual excess. This is a model study of a classical text, which makes consistent sense of a difficult and subtle manner, and answers questions posed by the potentially constricting nature of Roman poetic form. It also reconstructs the referential framework of ideas and associations upon which a sophisticated writer addressing a discriminating audience could draw.
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