JUVENAL AND THE SATIRIC EMOTIONS

Classics for All Reviews

By Catherine Keane

OUP (2015) h/b 251pp £47.99 (ISBN 9780199981892)

In the very first sentence of the first satire (semper ego auditor tantum?), Juvenal uses a rhetorical question with exaggeration and ellipse to establish the immediate impression of an angry author. This well-known and much discussed angry persona is just the beginning of the story. Satire is not always in the heroic mode attributed to Lucilius driving his chariot across the plain (1.19-20). There is a quieter Juvenal: in Book 3 an ironist, Book 4 an unruffled and amused onlooker, and finally a merciless cynic in Book 5.

K.  pays due attention to ancient discussions of emotion such as Seneca’s de ira and de tranquillitate while noting Juvenal’s eclectic and creative use of other literature. K. takes the reader systematically through the 16 satires but her analysis of what Juvenal is doing is always more subtle and nuanced…

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