Artifices of Eternity: Horace’s Fourth Book of Odes

Michael C.J. Putnam

352 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 0801483468


Language: English

Publish: January 1, 1996

Horace’s first three books of odes are universally acknowledged to be masterpieces. His fourth, which appeared ten years later, continues to be relatively neglected. The eminent classicist Michael C. J. Putnam here offers the first comprehensive study of the fourth book of odes. In his view, Horace’s last work is at once the culmination of his poetic career and a beautifully crafted composition of exceptional power and brilliance. Putnam discusses each of the fifteen odes found in the book, studying the work both as a whole and as a series of interactive units. Always conscious of the historical and social contexts in which the poems were written, he maintains that the fourth book not only expands the intellectual horizons of the three earlier books, but also draws upon, and responds to, two works of genius by other Propertius’s third book of elegies and Virgil’s Aeneid . Putnam shows how Horace co-opted and remolded their imaginative detail in his own poetry and how the parallels between Horace’s writings and those of his predecessors can help to illuminate the final flowering of Horatian lyric.

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