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review 2020-02-06 15:08
Trimalchio's Feast
Trimalchio's Feast (Little Black Classics #21) - Petronius Arbiter

Much has been written and said about Rome in the first century. Petronius however, gives a first-hand account of the decadent parties that were thrown in order to establish one's position in the city. While interesting from a historical perspective, I didn't really like this Little Black Classic. It's translated, of course, and I think that probably could have been done better.

~Little Black Classics #21~

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review 2015-04-25 00:00
Trimalchio's Feast (Little Black Classics #21)
Trimalchio's Feast (Little Black Classics #21) - Petronius Arbiter Petronius, a first-century courtier is believed to be the author of The Satyricon of which this segment is taken from. As a whole it concerns Encolpius the narrator and his young lover Gidon as they adventure through the lowest and highest parts of Roman society. Sadly, The Satyricon does not exist as a complete novel, but as a fractured remains of a mixture of prose and poetry.

Trimalchio's Feast is a bawdy, drunken affair with men, food, slaves and a great deal of sexism. It is hilarious at points and also typical of the male kind of writing that we are used to: men being men with woman following after them with the bucket. An important piece of early writing, especially about the lower classes during the Roman Empire, but emphatically patriarchal.
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text 2013-10-13 04:13
30-DAY BOOK CHALLENGE - Day Thirteen - Your favorite writer
The Satyricon (Oxford World's Classics) - Petronius,P.G. Walsh

Seriously?  Living or dead, childhood, teens, adults, contemporary authors still producing books?  What if you read different genres, can you pick one for each? Can I just point to my 5-star shelf for some?  


Impossible, ridiculous question.  With any luck, I'll still be finding more favorite authors to add every week ahead.


Guess I'll settle for listing a favorite author of possibly oldest fiction book I read: Petronious.  Unless Aesop pre-dates him.  I have read Aesop's Fables and some assorted Greek plays (okay, at one time I was pursuing a minor in classical languages and etymology strictly because I enjoyed the things and got away from some of the same old serious engineering student faces--but that was 30+ years and a dozen minors ago).



Otherwise, I'll run down a long list of classics, followed by SF ABCs (Asimov, Bradbury, Clark, Del Rey...); fantasy inkling eras; Victorians like Burroughs, Vernes and Wells; other golden agers like Andre Norton, Phillip K. Dick, Ron Goulart, Robert A. Heinlein, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey, Ben Bova, A.C. Crispin ...; 1970s romances like Rosemary Rogers, Johanna Lindsey, Roberta Gellis...; current SF/fantasy faves like Jim C. Hines, Robin Hobb, Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, David Brin,  (and keeping in mind I became a fan well before he made public anti-lgbt statements) even Orson Scott Card (except that stupid Lovelock monkey book), Trudi Canavan...; and all the recent paranormals like Kim Harrison, ...


Tomorrow's book turned into movie and desecrated is going to be extremely easy.



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review 2013-07-12 00:00
The Satyricon - Petronius, William Arrow... The Satyricon - Petronius, William Arrowsmith First of all, I have to get something off my chest. In the profile for Petronius on GR somebody has written "Tacitus records that he was eventually forced to commit suicide after being embarrassed in front of Nero." This is what Tacitus actually wrote:And so Tigellinus, jealous of a rival whose expertise in the science of pleasure far surpassed his own, appealed to the emperor’s cruelty (Nero’s dominant passion) and accused Petronius of friendship with the conspirator Scaevinus. A slave was bribed to incriminate Petronius; no defense was permitted and most of the prisoner’s household was placed under arrest. At the time the emperor was in Campania. Petronius had gone as far as Cumae when he was apprehended. The prospect of temporizing, with its attendant hopes and fears, seemed intolerable; equally he had no desire to dispatch himself hastily. So he severed his veins and then bound them up as the fancy took him, meanwhile conversing with his friends, not seriously or sadly or with ostentatious courage. And he listened while they talked and recited, not maxims on the immortality of the soul and philosophical reflections, but light and frivolous poetry. He then rewarded some of his slaves and assigned beatings to others. He dined and then dozed so that his death, even though compulsory, might still look natural. Nor did he adopt the conventional deathbed routine of flattering Nero, Tigellinus, and the other worthies. Instead, he wrote out a list of the emperor’s debaucheries, citing by name each of his sexual partners, male and female, with a catalogue of his sexual experiments, and sent it off to Nero under seal. He then destroyed his signet ring so that it could not be used later for the purpose of incriminating others.It is also evident from this quote that Petronius was no mere voluptuary. And does he manifest less character here than Cato did when he cut open his stomach with his own sword after the defeat at Utica and refused medical attention (an episode held up by many as being exemplary, but I digress)? Tacitus also informs us that while serving as governor of Bithynia and as consul, Petronius was "a capable and energetic administrator." OK, I feel better now.Finally, The Satyricon . I must echo what a GR friend has already written here: what a sadness the many lacunae in this text are! One can only hope that someone finds a complete copy in some mouldering crypt somewhere; after all, the butchered text upon which this translation is based was found only in 1663...This book is funny, funny, funny, on so many different levels, some of which cannot be appreciated by the unwashed, non-Latin-reading, ignorant-of-most-Latin-literature drooling imbeciles... Oh, wait, that's me!! OK, but I can appreciate second hand, due to William Arrowsmith's scholarship, that Petronius wrote this book using many different styles and genres of Latin literature to heighten yet more the various kinds of irony at play here. An English reader must imagine a text in which Shakespearean prose is placed next to a rich and luscious paragraph by Virginia Woolf, placed next to a Spenserian stanza, placed next to a comedy bit by (insert your favorite standup comic), placed next to an orotund address by Gibbon, placed next to the mewling of a nearly speechless teenager (OK, maybe not the latter), with each style artfully chosen to make a particular point, to enrich the ironies... (By God, I'm almost tempted to disinter my high school Latin books!) Arrowsmith admits he can't do that; he can only tell us about it and try to translate some of it. And, of course, puns cannot be translated, and apparently The Satyricon is replete with them.Alright, but much of the humor, satire and irony does come through, and what a treat it all is. All of the postmodern gurus about whose knees so many of the more sophisticated readers in GR are gathered should themselves sit at Petronius' feet quietly and listen carefully. And this satire and irony is by no means bitter or cutting (as opposed to so much of our contemporary literature); even the most ridiculed character (usually through his own words) is not reduced to some kind of symbol to be despised - Petronius, who was no moralizer, empathizes with each and lets them breathe. What I would give to be able to go to Trimalchio's banquet!
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review 2009-12-05 00:00
The Satyricon - Petronius Spotted on Suvi's profile!
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