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The Sixteen Satires (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Juvenal , Peter Green
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.00
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Book Description

27 Aug 1998 Penguin Classics
Perhaps more than any other writer, Juvenal (c. AD 55-138) captures the splendour, the squalor and the sheer energy of everyday Roman life. In The Sixteen Satires he evokes a fascinating world of whores, fortune-tellers, boozy politicians, slick lawyers, shameless sycophants, ageing flirts and downtrodden teachers. A member of the traditional land-owning class that was rapidly seeing power slip into the hands of outsiders, Juvenal also creates savage portraits of decadent aristocrats - male and female - seeking excitement among the lower orders of actors and gladiators, and of the jumped-up sons of newly-rich former slaves. Constantly comparing the corruption of his own generation with its stern and upright forebears, Juvenal's powers of irony and invective make his work a stunningly satirical and bitter denunciation of the degeneracy of Roman society

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 3Rev Ed edition (27 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140447040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140447040
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 12.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Little is known about Juvenal's life (A.D. 55 - 140) except that his satirical sketches caused much controversy and resulted in him being exiled from his home country for a period of years.

Peter Green was Director of Studies in Classics at Cambridge and then worked for a number of years as a freelance writer, translator and journalist. In 1963 he emigrated to Greece and lectured in Greek history and literature at Athens from 1966 to 1971. He is now Dougherty Centennial Professor of Classics at University of Texas, Austin.


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Must I always be stuck in the audience, never get my own back for all the times I've been bored by that ranting Theseid of Cordus? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware the wasp - and the mullet! 31 Aug 2009
By Jon Chambers TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yes, Dr Jones may well be right in suggesting that there are better editions than this (although it would have been useful if he'd told us exactly which ones and why!). However, Peter Green arguably offers the best introduction to Juvenal's Satires. After all, Green is not writing for the specialist but for the average, intelligent reader - the kind of reader that Penguin Classics habitually caters for. Jones probably has scholars like Susanna Braund in mind and I'd imagine that her editions are those that professional classicists like him find most valuable. She offers an extremely perceptive commentary, full Latin text and a translation that is, I suspect, closer to the letter than Green's. But Braund comes at a hefty price - 18 for Volume I alone.

In any case, this Penguin edition has lots to offer besides value. Green captures the spirit and vitality, as well as the sharply ironic humour, of the original at least as well as Braund or Rudd, the two main competitors. His Juvenal sounds fresh, witty and modern (as well as occasionally loathsome, misogynistic and xenophobic). His Introduction, moreover, is extensive and engaging. It may well be 'old-fashioned' in its lack of enthusiasm for the 'persona theory' (ie the view that the poet is donning a mask and not voicing his own opinions, thereby preventing us from reading the satires as self-revelation). But Green does at least address 'the much-vexed question of Juvenal's satirical persona', and gives us an alternative approach. He inclines to the view that Juvenal's savage indignation resulted from humbling personal experience. According to long-held tradition, he was exiled - probably to Egypt.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green's revision hits the mark 25 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback
I studied this book for Classical Civilisation last year and found it an extremely refreshing rendering of an author whose medium (the satire) has been mauled and abused by even the best of English translators. I picked up a second much inferior translation of this book to reinforce my learning and instantly appreciated the quality of Peter Green's method: he avoids sucking the life out of Juvenal's poetry through prose translation but doesn't go so far as to force the advanced and passionate sentiments into dry showy Dryden-esque iambics or rhyming couplets. The result is an unrhyming semi-poetic rendering; beautifully and entirely naturally rhythmic. He also meets an audience mid-way between scholar and 'layman' by removing references to unknown people referred to in the text, thus avoiding clumsy English (which may also be seen as a trifle patronising on the translator's part), and providing an thorough endnotes and a bibliography for each satire. The introduction and preface are also hugely informative. However I find his (to me) unique method of applying endnotes a little irritating: he often places the endnotes twenty lines apart and then explains all of the different points in the preceeding twenty lines, rather than the more orthodox way of applying one note per reference. However this is, I assume, an attempt at making the experience of reading the work a more fluid one and only jarred on me as I was studying it in conjunction with other texts which use the more traditional method.
In any case this is a wonderful book, finally hitting that hard to reach mark between poetry and prose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is the only Kindle book I've ever returned. it was badly formatted, there is no table of contents and it cost more than the paperback. There's no excuse for this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars So this is what the Romans were really like 11 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you want to get under the skin of ancient Rome, Juvenal is the perfect guide. Well worth a read
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