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Chapter 16 - Catullus 61: Epithalamium and Comparison

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2021

Denis Feeney
Affiliation:
Princeton University, New Jersey
Stephen Hinds
Affiliation:
University of Washington
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Summary

Catullus 61 is an epithalamium, celebrating the wedding of Catullus’ friend Manlius Torquatus to Vibia Aurunculeia, and the chapter gives a close reading of the poem. The tradition of epithalamium is very rich in similes and comparisons, from the world of nature and the world of myth. The chapter argues that similes are particularly at home in wedding-songs because they highlight issues of similarity and difference which are apposite in a wedding context: marriage brings together two people who are similar but not identical, just as similes bring together terms which are similar but not identical.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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