The Hidden Author: An Interpretation Of Petronius's Satyricon by Gian Biagio ConteThe Hidden Author: An Interpretation Of Petronius's Satyricon by Gian Biagio Conte

The Hidden Author: An Interpretation Of Petronius's Satyricon

byGian Biagio Conte

Hardcover | March 15, 1997

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The Satyricon of Petronius, a comic novel written in the first century A.D., is famous today primarily for its amazing banquet tale, "Trimalchio's Feast." But this episode is only one part of the larger picture of life during Nero's rule presented in the work. In this accessible discussion of Petronius's masterful use of parody, Gian Biagio Conte offers an interpretation of the Satyricon as a whole. He combines the scholarly precision of close reading with a significant, original theoretical model.

At the heart of his interpretation, Conte reveals the technique of the "hidden author" that Petronius employs at the expense of his characters, in particular the teller of the story, Enclopius. By remaining hidden outside the narrative, Petronius invites the reader to smile at the folies de grandeur that occur in a culture of scholars and declaimers. Yet as Conte shows, behind the parody and inexhaustible humor of the Satyricon lies an unexpectedly serious lament. For those familiar with the Satyricon, as well as for new readers, Conte's book will be a reliable, enjoyable guide to the wonders the Satyricon contains.
Gian Biagio Conte is Professor of Latin Literature in the Department of Classical Philology at the University of Pisa, Italy, and is author of, among many works, Latin Literature: A History (1994).
Title:The Hidden Author: An Interpretation Of Petronius's SatyriconFormat:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.98 inPublished:March 15, 1997Publisher:University of California Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0520207157

ISBN - 13:9780520207158

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From Our Editors

Petronius's Satyricon is famous today primarily for the amazing banquet tale, "Trimalchio's Feast", also celebrated in Fellini's film, Satyricon. But this episode is only one part of the larger picture offered by the work. In The Hidden Author, Professor Conte starts with the structure of the work as a whole, inviting the reader to appreciate the elements of irony and fantasy woven into the text. The author has hidden himself with the aim of striking at the vanity of the contemporary cultured scene, handing over his stage to his characters, who are living in various sorts of degradation, but who see themselves, in minds overactively appropriating a great literary heritage, as figures of mythic proportions. In the foreground of Petronius's work can be seen the follies and excesses of the Rome of Nero's time; in the background, the outlines of the intellectual life of the early Empire.