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Propertius in Love

Propertius in Love: The Elegies

Translated by David R. Slavitt
Foreword by Matthew S. Santirocco
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 313
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  • Book Info
    Propertius in Love
    Book Description:

    These ardent, even obsessed, poems about erotic passion are among the brightest jewels in the crown of Latin literature. Written by Propertius, Rome's greatest poet of love, who was born around 50 b.c., a contemporary of Ovid, these elegies tell of Propertius' tormented relationship with a woman he calls "Cynthia." Their connection was sometimes blissful, more often agonizing, but as the poet came to recognize, it went beyond pride or shame to become the defining event of his life. Whether or not it was Propertius' explicit intention, these elegies extend our ideas of desire, and of the human condition itself.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93584-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xxxvi)

    Quot editores,tot Propertii. The learned quip—“There are as many Propertiuses as there are editors”—refers to the notorious unreliability of the Latin text and to the ingenuity of such scholars as A. E. Housman who have tried to emend and restore it. But the phrase could apply just as easily to the wide variety of literary interpretations, equally ingenious and often incompatible, that Propertius’ love elegies have provoked over the centuries.

    Writing in the Rome of the emperor Augustus toward the end of the first century b.c.e., Sextus Propertius captured and critiqued the experience of a generation that...

  4. The Elegies
    (pp. 1-242)

    Cynthia’s eyes ensnared me who’d never before been caught

    in desire’s nets: then I bent my once proud head

    (as Meleager describes) in submission to Amor’s triumph.

    That villain forced me to do his vulgar dance,

    to avoid decent young girls and live in demimondaine

    excess—an entire year is down the drain,

    wasted in frenzy the gods look down on in pained distaste.

    Consider, dear Tullus, your friend in my sorry plight.

    I’m not at all the Milanion, whom Atalanta disdained

    until at last he won her. Lovelorn, distraught, 10

    he wandered her haunts in Arcadia’s rugged hillsides and...

  5. NOTES
    (pp. 243-277)
  6. Back Matter
    (pp. 278-278)