Friday, January 26, 2007

Week 4: Specialty Words

If you read enough of an author, you begin to notice subtle or not so subtle patterns in his/her writing. Those patterns might be thing like the clear, short, straightforward sentences of a Hemingway, or lengthy, complex sentences describing scenes in great detail like Mellville. The same is true for Latin authors and Latin poets in particular. We can notice patterns in meter, and we can notice patterns in themes (like poems about how much Catullus loves Lesbia). We can notice that certain Latin authors favor or repeat certain word order in their verses. And, we can notice specialty words. I am calling specialty words those words that show up often, or which seem to be the central word or words that give a particular poem its focus.

Consider the 6 poems that we have studied in the "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" theme (51, 5, 7, 86, 43 and 2) and identify what you think are the "specialty" words. And then, comment on how these words enable Catullus to talk about his love for Lesbia. How would these very same poems change if these specialty words were deleted.

Magister Patricius