Horace's Satires and Epistles
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Horace's Satires and Epistles

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Horace today is perhaps best remembered as the lyric poet of the Odes, as consequently as the inventor of the form named the Horatian Ode after him. But his achievement is more various than the Odes and Epodes suggest.

Early in his life, and again in maturity, Horace sought to turn his poetic skills to the uses of moral and aesthetic discussion in the series of didactic works translated here. In the Satires, Horace adopts one persona after another, each of which reduces himself to absurdity in the process of trying to argue a point of view about the ethical or artistic life. The form of the Epistles permits Horace to write with particular intimacy, addressing moral issues in a persuasive yet informal way. The third epistle, The Art of Poetry, on the other hand, is a formal poem addressed to the emperor Augustus, and seeks to educate the poetic taste of the ruler of the western world. Jacob Fuchs is Associate Professor of English at California State University, Hayward. He is the editor of Virgil: The Aeneid (Pengiun Classics, 1991), and author of Reading Horace (Edinburgh UP, 1967), The Imagery and Poetry of Lucretius (Edinburgh UP, 1969, reprint Bristol CP, 1994).

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