Catalogue

COVID-19: Updates on library services and operations.

When the lamp is shattered [electronic resource] : desire and narrative in Catullus /
Micaela Janan.
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1994.
description
xviii, 204 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0809317656 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1994.
isbn
0809317656 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
12016540
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 183-195) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-06:
Few readers of Catullus would now dismiss his work as the object of more critical attention than it deserves. To the contrary, most modern scholars agree that Catullus, a discordant, self-contradictory, and not easily assimilable voice of his time, must be taken very seriously. Among other features, it is this discord, this resistance to external constraint, that attracts the modern reader to the complexities of Catullus's art. Janan explores many of the poems by applying a rich, dynamic critical method, one that is quite in keeping with contemporary preoccupations with selfhood, gender, and reader response. Her method reflects a combination of Callimachean aesthetics and Platonic psychology, as the latter is elaborated by Freud and Jacques Lacan. The method works admirably in the elucidation of Catullus's celebrated affair with Lesbia and of other instances of his sensitive, ambivalent personality. Janan's vocabulary is highly literate, gender-conscious, and psychoanalytical; she evinces an intense engagement with the text. Her book will appeal primarily to kindred spirits, but probably to only the few undergraduates who share her understanding of Hellenistic poetry and Freudian psychoanalysis. This limitation is regrettable, since the book is well conceived and its conclusions well grounded, in literary theory as well as in the text of Catullus. In all, a welcome, challenging addition to the growing body of contemporary Catullan criticism. Graduate; faculty. E. R. Mix; Elmira College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1994
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The poetry of the Late Roman Republican poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, a rich document of the human heart, is the earliest-known reasonably complete body of erotic verse in the West. Though approximately 116 poems survive, uncertainties about the condition of the fragmented manuscript and the narrative order of the poems make the Catullan text unusually problematic for the modern critic. Indeed, the poems can be arranged in a number of ways, making a multitude of different plots possible and frustrating the reader's desire for narrative closure. Micaela Janan contends that since unsatisfied desire structures both the experience of reading Catullus and its subject matter, critical interpretation of the text demands a "poetics of desire." Furthermore, postmodern critical theory, narratology, and psychoanalysis suggest a flexible concept of the "subject" as a site through which a multitude of social, cultural, and unconscious forces move. Human consciousness, Janan contends, is inherently incomplete and in a continuous process of transformation. She therefore proposes an original and provocative feminist reading of Catullus, a reading informed by theories of consciousness and desire as ancient as Plato and as contemporary as Freud and Lacan. The Late Roman Republic in which Catullus lived, Janan reminds us, was a time of profound social upheaval when political and cultural institutions that had persisted for centuries were rapidly breaking downa time not unlike our own. Catullus' poetry provides an unusually honest look at his culture and its contradictory representations of class, gender, and power. By bringing to the study of this major work of classical literature the themes of consciousness and desire dealt with in postmodern scholarship, Janan's book invites a new conversation among literary disciplines.
Main Description
The poetry of the Late Roman Republican poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, a rich document of the human heart, is the earliest-known reasonably complete body of erotic verse in the West. Though approximately 116 poems survive, uncertainties about the condition of the fragmented manuscript and the narrative order of the poems make the Catullan text unusually problematic for the modern critic. Indeed, the poems can be arranged in a number of ways, making a multitude of different plots possible and frustrating the reader's desire for narrative closure. Micaela Janan contends that since unsatisfied desire structures both the experience of reading Catullus and its subject matter, critical interpretation of the text demands a "poetics of desire." Furthermore, postmodern critical theory, narratology, and psychoanalysis suggest a flexible concept of the "subject" as a site through which a multitude of social, cultural, and unconscious forces move. Human consciousness, Janan contends, is inherently incomplete and in a continuous process of transformation. She therefore proposes an original and provocative feminist reading of Catullus, a reading informed by theories of consciousness and desire as ancient as Plato and as contemporary as Freud and Lacan. The Late Roman Republic in which Catullus lived, Janan reminds us, was a time of profound social upheaval when political and cultural institutions that had persisted for centuries were rapidly breaking down--a time not unlike our own. Catullus' poetry provides an unusually honest look at his culture and its contradictory representations of class, gender, and power. By bringing to the study of this major work of classical literature the themes of consciousness and desire dealt with in postmodern scholarship, Janan's book invites a new conversation among literary disciplines.
Main Description
The poetry of the Late Roman Republican poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, a rich document of the human heart, is the earliest-known reasonably complete body of erotic verse in the West.Though approximately 116 poems survive, uncertainties about the condition of the fragmented manuscript and the narrative order of the poems make the Catullan text unusually problematic for the modern critic. Indeed, the poems can be arranged in a number of ways, making a multitude of different plots possible and frustrating the reader's desire for narrative closure.Micaela Janan contends that since unsatisfied desire structures both the experience of reading Catullus and its subject matter, critical interpretation of the text demands a "poetics of desire." Furthermore, postmodern critical theory, narratology, and psychoanalysis suggest a flexible concept of the "subject" as a site through which a multitude of social, cultural, and unconscious forces move. Human consciousness, Janan contends, is inherently incomplete and in a continuous process of transformation. She therefore proposes an original and provocative feminist reading of Catullus, a reading informed by theories of consciousness and desire as ancient as Plato and as contemporary as Freud and Lacan.The Late Roman Republic in which Catullus lived, Janan reminds us, was a time of profound social upheaval when political and cultural institutions that had persisted for centuries were rapidly breaking down--a time not unlike our own. Catullus' poetry provides an unusually honest look at his culture and its contradictory representations of class, gender, and power. By bringing to the study of this major work of classical literature the themes of consciousness and desire dealt with in postmodern scholarship, Janan's book invites a new conversation among literary disciplines.
Unpaid Annotation
The poetry of the Late Roman Republican poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, a rich document of the human heart, is the earliest-known reasonably complete body of erotic verse in the West. Though approximately 116 poems survive, uncertainties about the condition of the fragmented manuscript and the narrative order of the poems make the Catullan text unusually problematic for the modern critic. Indeed, the poems can be arranged in a number of ways, making a multitude of different plots possible and frustrating the reader's desire for narrative closure. Micaela Janan contends that since unsatisfied desire structures both the experience of reading Catullus as well as its subject matter, critical interpretation of the text demands a "poetics of desire". She proposes an original and provocative feminist reading of Catullus, a reading informed by theories of consciousness as ancient as Plato and as contemporary as Freud and Lacan. Janan holds that traditional text theory achieves interpretive closure by idealizing a self-aware, autonomous, and concrete textual "persona". In such a view, even the most unexpected or bizarre conduct ought to be explainable in terms of this presumably stable core of consciousness. Thus the extraordinary variations in Catullus' sexuality - including apparent shifts of gender identity - have led critics who seek a personality type that would account for the poet's behavior to speculate about his "bisexuality" or "effeminacy". Postmodern critical theory, narratology, and psychoanalysis, however, suggest a more flexible concept of the "subject" as a site through which a multitude of social, cultural, and unconscious forces move. Human consciousness, Janan contends, isinherently incomplete and in a continuous process of transformation. She argues that Catullus' gender transitions should be understood less as evidence of a conflicted sexuality than as a radical, poetic interrogation of the soci
Table of Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
A Note on Citation
From Plato to Freud to Lacan: A History of the Subjectp. 1
Poems One Through Eleven: A Fragmentary History of the Affairp. 37
Poems Eleven and Fifty-one: Repetition and Jouissancep. 66
The Epigrams: "I Am Lying"p. 77
The Carmina Maiora: Hercules and the Engineering of Desirep. 101
Some Final Reflectionsp. 143
Notesp. 149
Bibliographyp. 183
Indexp. 197
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem