Two Notes on Catullus

Classical Quarterly 40 (1):199-206 (1990)
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Abstract

The beginning of the seventy-sixth poem of Catullus appears to cause some modern readers considerable dismay. One may instance the reactions of R. O. A. M. Lyne: ‘Our first reaction to the beginning of this poem may be one of incredulity’ ; ‘The effect of such language is to imply an outrageous and implausible self-righteousness’ ; of K. Quinn: ‘a self-righteousness that makes us feel a little uncomfortable’ ; or of G. Williams: ‘this is sheer melodrama, a deft and surprising reversal of “count your blessings”’; and, further down, on ‘si vitam puriter egi’: ‘This could be simply priggish or outrageous or both, but he does not mean it as a general statement’

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