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Ancient Rome and the Construction of Modern Homosexual Identities$
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Jennifer Ingleheart

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199689729

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689729.001.0001

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The Kisses of Juventius, and Policing the Boundaries of Masculinity

The Kisses of Juventius, and Policing the Boundaries of Masculinity

The Case of Catullus

Chapter:
(p.273) 14 The Kisses of Juventius, and Policing the Boundaries of Masculinity
Source:
Ancient Rome and the Construction of Modern Homosexual Identities
Author(s):

Ralph J. Hexter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689729.003.0015

This chapter focuses on the history of the scholarly reception of Catullus, a key figure in the classical canon from the Renaissance onwards; it treats scholarship itself as a historical phenomenon on the horizon of both classical reception and the history of sexuality, arguing that changing attitudes towards sexuality can be illustrated by the reception of Catullus’ poems addressed to his young beloved, Juventius. The history of scholarship on Catullus is not just one of bowdlerization and censorship; sometimes scholars who work on Catullus are subjected to attacks on their masculinity. One might read the Dictionary of National Biography (Davis/Weaver (1927)) entry on the Oxford don and Catullan editor Robinson Ellis as an instance of mocking insinuation and conclude with the vicious explicit verbal attacks on Angelo Poliziano as a sodomite for having advanced the interpretation that Lesbia’s ‘sparrow’ in Catullus 2 and 3 actually stood for the poet’s penis.

Keywords:   Catullus, history of scholarship, classical reception, masculinity, bowdlerization, censorship, Robinson Ellis, Poliziano

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