Persius: A Study In Food, Philosophy, And The Figural

Hardcover | March 23, 2015

byShadi Bartsch

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The Roman poet and satirist Persius (34–62 CE) was unique among his peers for lampooning literary and social conventions from a distinctly Stoic point of view. A curious amalgam of mocking wit and philosophy, his Satires are rife with violent metaphors and unpleasant imagery and show little concern for the reader’s enjoyment or understanding.

In Persius, Shadi Bartsch explores this Stoic framework and argues that Persius sets his own bizarre metaphors of food, digestion, and sexuality against more appealing imagery to show that the latter—and the poetry containing  it—harms rather than helps its audience. Ultimately, he encourages us to abandon metaphor altogether in favor of the non-emotive abstract truths of Stoic philosophy, to live in a world where neither alluring poetry, nor rich food, nor sexual charm play a role in philosophical teaching.

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From the Publisher

The Roman poet and satirist Persius (34–62 CE) was unique among his peers for lampooning literary and social conventions from a distinctly Stoic point of view. A curious amalgam of mocking wit and philosophy, his Satires are rife with violent metaphors and unpleasant imagery and show little concern for the reader’s enjoyment or underst...

Shadi Bartsch is the Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics at the University of Chicago. She is the author, most recently, of The Mirror of the Self: Sexuality, Self-Knowledge, and the Gaze in the Early Roman Empire and coeditor of the Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca series, also published by the Unive...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:March 23, 2015Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022624184X

ISBN - 13:9780226241845

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part I: Cannibals and Philosophers

Chapter 1: The Cannibal Poets
1. The Ars poetica and the Body of Verse
2. Consuming the Poets
3. A Discourse on Digestion
4. The Echoing Belly

Chapter 2: Alternative Diets
1. Satire’s Decoction
2. The Philosopher’s Plate
3. Madness, Bile, and Hellebore
4. The Mad Poet

Chapter 3: The Philosopher’s Love
1. The Seduction of Alcibiades
2. The Philosopher-Sodomite
3. Cornutus and the Stoic Way

Part II: The Metaphorics of Disgust

Chapter 4: The Scrape of Metaphor
1. The Pleasures of Figure
2. The acris iunctura
3. The Maculate Metaphor
4. A Stoic Poetics

Chapter 5: The Self-Consuming Satire
1. Satire’s Shifting Figures
2. Shins and Arrows
3. The Return of the Cannibal
4. Mind over Matter

Appendix: Medical Prescriptions of Decocta for Stomach Ailments or Other Problems
Reference List
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Bartsch takes on the twisted ways of Persius to show how the most far-flung of figurative conceits play together as Stoic satire and hew to a central philosophical rationale. The result is a provocative and refreshingly clear appraisal of Rome’s most difficult poet.”