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Introduction

Jonathan Prag and Ian Repath


Subject Classical Literature » Latin Literature

People Petronius

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405156875.2009.00004.x


Extract

Petronius's fragmentary novel, the Satyrica , is a text as amazing as it is puzzling. It combines startling originality, outrageous and raunchy humor, literary genius, and brilliant characterization. It provides an insight into the seedier side of life in the ancient world and an unusual perspective on first-century municipal Roman Italy and beyond. It has a unique place in the history of literature as the first substantial novelistic text and has been enormously influential on writers of fiction and on those trying to understand ancient Rome. Its attractiveness as a text to be read, studied, and researched, whatever one's interest, has long been clear, and, as is evident from the bibliography to this volume, there is no shortage of material written on it. What, then, does this book aim to achieve? In this volume there are a dozen especially commissioned, original essays by leading scholars in the fields of the ancient novel and of the culture and history of the early Roman Empire. These essays have Petronius's Satyrica as their sole focus and students as their primary audience, although we are confident that anyone interested in this text will find much that is useful and illuminating. The essays each present a survey of one aspect of the Satyrica taking into account the vast amount of scholarship, both specialized and general, and, in a “Further Reading” section, point the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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