Sunday, October 12, 2008

Inquisitio Secunda

Catullus 13 is often described as an invitation to dinner. Is it? What would a normal dinner invitation be like, and how does this poem invert and parody what one would expect in a dinner invitation? In a concise and clear essay, describe how the structure and rhetorical devices of the poem produce a comical effect. Be sure to quote the Latin text in your response.

n.b.: Owing to my tardiness in posting, this essay is now due by midnight on Tuesday.

3 comments:

Brock said...

Brock Andrew Burdyl

Catullus 13 is an invitation to dinner and uses parody by asking Fabullus to provide the food for this dinner. The word pictures used by Catullus throughout the poem show how certain implications are assumed and convey a comical undercurrent.
In lines 2-3 Catullus writes, “si tibi di favent…si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam” which translates to if the gods favor you, you will bring a dinner big and good. This is ironic in the sense that Catullus’ is the one throwing the party, but asks Fabullus to bring the food. A normal invitation would have said come to my dinner for food instead of telling the guest to bring the food. Catullus offers an explanation for his uncivil manner in lines 7-8 “nam tui Catulli plenus sacculus est aranearum”- for the bag of your Catullus is full of spiderwebs, meaning that Catullus has no money left with which to buy food. Catullus has reworked an invitation to dinner into a letter of request in which it would be rude to refuse. Even in modern times, parties are only refused for other obligations of more importance scheduled before the party which reveals Catullus’ tact in manipulating words to achieve an end.
The word pictures taken in light of Catullus’ true intent conveys subtle comedy. In line for instance “Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me” – You will eat well, my Fabullus, among me, Catullus wraps mi Fabulle in the middle of the line to play on the words apud me, among me, but also to show the Fabullus is already among his dinner hinting again at an expected Yes to this invitation. Catullus also askes Fabullus to bring a pretty girl “candida puella”, even though Catullus has girls present as implied by “quod meae puellae donarunt Veneres Cupidinesque” which the Venuses and Cupids gave to my girls. Catullus expands on the girls by saying that after Fabullus smells the perfume which Catullus’ girls received from the gods Fabullus will wish to be a nose. Implying that Fabullus’ pretty girl doesn’t smell that well and that it is worthy of exchange for food needed at this dinner party.
In conclusion, Catullus’ subtle witticisms are disguised in a fairly sincere request for Fabullus to help Catullus throw a party.

(Grammaticus, I looked at this poem and the prompt for a bit and wrote this essay as best as I could. I shall not lie though and inform you that I have no idea what I'm doing this time around. What punctuation is appropriate for the Latin to English translations "latin"-enlish or "latin" (enlish), something along those lines. Also is my essay formatted correctly. Lastly, was my response anywhere within the right ball park? I felt that it could have been both a real letter and a false letter, but I went with a real letter because I saw more things I could make an argument for.)

puella_verenda said...

Catullus 13, while sometimes viewed as an invitation to dinner, is really an invitation for Fabullus to bring his own party to Catullus’s house. Catullus invites Fabullus to “tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam cenam, non sine candida puella et vino et sale et omnibus cachinnis” (lines 3-5) and if Fabullus does this (brings his own dinner, and also brings his own entertainment) “cenabis bene” (line 1). This is really putting all of the work and organization onto Fabullus, and Catullus is simply providing the place to party. In a normal dinner invitation, Catullus would simply state a date and time, and Fabullus would show up to an already-planned-out dinner. However, Catullus inverts the invitation by providing the date and time, but also thrusting all or the responsibilities of planning and organizing a dinner onto Fabullus. All Catullus offers in return is some perfume that is apparently so good smelling, “tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum” (lines 13-14). This is a parody on a normal dinner invitation because instead of inviting Fabullus to a dinner party, Catullus is inviting Fabullus to plan a party for Catullus himself. The reader is put into a humorous situation in which the dinner invitation is not a regular invitation, but a selfish request (not really stated as a request) for a party. In this poem, Catullus masterfully uses the art of satire and parody to create a humorous spin on an everyday, mundane occurrence.

(Grammaticus-I emailed this to you last Tuesday before midnight, but I was finally able to log back onto the blog, so I posted this today.)

vdgmrpro said...

44Catullus is inviting his good friend Fabullus to a dinner party at Catullus's house. However, instead of a customary dinner invitation, Catullus throws manners straight out the window and asks his friend if he'll bring the food, wine, and women; the basic necessities of any good dinner party. The nerve that Catullus shows in bold request is enough to draw a smile to anyone's face and thus the comical undertone in the poem is introduced. Then Catullus goes on to say,"Haec si, inquam, attuleris, venuste noster,
cenabis bene (if you bring these things, I say, my attractive one, then you will dine well)". Once again Catullus brings comedy into his invitation by saying that Fabullus could only dine well on his own food when he comes to Catullus's party.
Catullus then reveals that, "nam tui Catulli plenus sacculus est aranearum (the wallet of your Catullus is full of cobwebs)". This statement adds to the fairly funny situation by saying that Catullus had already planned a party... but has no money to pay for food and entertainment. Throughout this poem, Catullus subtly teases Fabullus into basically throwing a party for the poet and uses clever witticisms to prod his friend into achieving his goal.