Catullus
The Poems
Boastful, spiteful, sometimes indecent, Catullus is perhaps the
Roman poet most easily appreciated by a modern audience.  The
feats of heroes and deities, so popular with other poets of his time,
figure little in his works.  Instead we find an intimacy, a deeply
personal touch, and a depth of psychological insight that transcend
differences of time and place.  His brief life spanned the middle years
of the first century, a time of dominance and empire for Rome.   But
Catullus was not one to be dazzled by pomp and splendor, and his
writings are laced cynicism and penetrating wit.    Catullus is seldom
read these days, and he rarely appears on course reading lists that  
find a place for Virgil or Ovid.  What a shame, for here is a writer that
many would enjoy, and whose complete works could be read in a
single afternoon.  
TIPS FOR READERS

I enjoyed Catullus in
a modern
translation
by Charles Martin.  
But readers with
some Latin may
prefer an edition with
facing text in the
original, such as the
Sisson translation or
the
Loeb edition.

A MODERN TWIST . . .

Catullus figures
prominently in
Thornton Wilder's
epistolary novel
The
Ides of March.