CJ-Online ~ 2015.05.10
Silence in Catullus. By Benjamin Eldon Stevens. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. Pp. x + 338. Paper, $34.95. ISBN: 978-0-299-29664-3.
Reviewed by Christopher B. Polt, University of South Florida (cpolt)
"Silence" is not the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Catullus’ poetry, where even the beds shout and the doors gossip, but Benjamin Stevens’ Silence in Catullus suggests that the gaps in Catullan speech not only are significant but constitute a "poetics of silence" that reveals how much humans depend on the constant chatter of language for their very existence. Stevens’ readings are frequently insightful, drawing innovative connections between familiar poems and those either less studied (e.g. the Gellius cycle) or too often viewed in isolation from the rest of the corpus (e.g. the poems on the brother’s death). The book’s style is somewhat convoluted and the desultory way Stevens moves between relevant theoretical work can at times be daunting, but patient readers will find much of value and interest in Stevens’ work, which contributes to many ongoing discussions in Catullan studies. […]
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