Making Mockery: The Poetics Of Ancient Satire

Hardcover | May 25, 2007

byRalph Rosen

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Making Mockery explores the dynamics of comic mockery and satire in Greek and Roman poetry, and argues that poets working with such material composed in accordance with shared generic principles and literary protocols. It encourages a synoptic, synchronic view of such poetry, from archaiciambus through Roman satire, and argues that if we can appreciate the abstract poetics of mockery that governs individual poets in such genres, we can we better understand how such poetry functioned in its own historical moment. Rosen examines in particular the various strategies deployed by ancient satirical poets to enlist the sympathies of a putative audience, convince them of the justice of their indignation and the legitimacy of their personal attacks. The mocking satirist at the height of his power remains elusiveand paradoxical--a figure of self-constructed abjection, yet arrogant and sarcastic at the same time; a figure whose speech can be self-righteous one moment, but scandalous the next; who will insist on the "reality" of his poetry, but make it clear that this reality is always mediated by aninescapable movement towards fictionality. While scholars have often, in principle, acknowledged the force of irony, persona-construction and other such devices by which satirists destabilize their claims, very often in practice--especially when considering individual satirists in isolation fromothers--they too succumb to the satirist's invitation to take what he says at face value. Despite the sophisticated critical tools they may bring to bear on satirical texts, therefore, classicists still tend to treat such poets ultimately as monochromatically indignant, vindictive individuals on agenuine self-righteous mission. This study, however, argues that that a far subtler analysis of the aggressive, poeticized subject in Classical antiquity--its target, and its audience--is called for.

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Making Mockery explores the dynamics of comic mockery and satire in Greek and Roman poetry, and argues that poets working with such material composed in accordance with shared generic principles and literary protocols. It encourages a synoptic, synchronic view of such poetry, from archaiciambus through Roman satire, and argues that if ...

Ralph Rosen is Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 6.3 × 9.41 × 1.18 inPublished:May 25, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195309960

ISBN - 13:9780195309966

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Table of Contents

1. Dynamics of Ancient Satirical Poetry2. Two Paradigms of Mockery in Greek Myth: Iambe and Demeter; Heracles and the Cercopes3. Where the Blame Lies: The Question of Thersites4. Shifting Perspectives of Comic Abjection: Odysseus and Polyphemus as Figures of Satire5. Satiric Authenticity in Callimachus' Iambi6. Mockery, Self-mockery, and the Didactic Ruse: Juvenal Satires Nine and Five7. Archilochus, Critias, and the Poetics of Abjection

Editorial Reviews

"This is an exceptionally rich study of mockery as a telling, and always problematic, social practice in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Besides tackling the diachronic development of various genres of mockery practiced from Homer to Juvenal, this study details the theorizing of those genres bythose who practiced them, and by the many critics, both ancient and modern, who have struggled to come to terms with those practices and, above all, to take them seriously. But the illicit pleasures of mockery are never under-represented by this book, for Rosen is especially good at cracking openthe many synchronic puzzles that the ancient materials pose, to expose satire's dirty secrets in ways that bring to life the particular characters and events and the larger culture wars that are the matrix of satiric invention."--Kirk Freudenburg, Yale University