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Sixteen Satires (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 1, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Little is known about Juvenal's life (A.D. 55 - 140) except that his satirical sketches caused much controversy and resulted in him being exiled from his home country for a period of years. Peter Green was Director of Studies in Classics at Cambridge and then worked for a number of years as a freelance writer, translator and journalist. In 1963 he emigrated to Greece and lectured in Greek history and literature at Athens from 1966 to 1971. He is now Dougherty Centennial Professor of Classics at University of Texas, Austin.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 3rd edition (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140447040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140447040
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lars P. Hanson on August 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Green's latest revision to his earlier translations of Juvenal's satires is an absolute joy to read! In the Introduction he recounts the changes he has made with a refreshing candor. In addition, he neatly summarizes the various viewpoints about the problematic portions of the Satires -- possible lacunae (gaps), possible line shuffling, possible transcription errors, etc. While such problems occur with any ancient text (such as the Bible), it is rarely that a translator will discuss the problems, the solutions the translator has employed, and the reasons for his or her choices outside of scholarly works. Peter Green's clear and persuasive arguments are a welcome change from the usual practice.

The translations themselves preserve the sense of the original Latin, with little or no modern colloquialisms. As the translator noted in his Introduction, he was aghast to note in the first edition the extent to which he had both varied from the original line structure of Juvenal's works and the extent to which he had employed contemporary language, which now seemed dated. As a result, Peter Green retranslated most of the Satires to correct these errors. The latest edition of this work thus is far truer to the original work. The resulting text provides fascinating insights into Roman life duriung Juvenal's lifetime.

Another wonderful aspect of this edition are the clear and self-contained footnotes. The reader is not left having to scramble to find some obscure text in order to understand the footnote. Peter Green puts all the information necessary into each footnote, and also provides external references as necessary.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By "horatius2" on November 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Juvenal, is by far one of the greatest writers of the Roman era. His biting style and keen insight is a pleasure to read, and has not lost its appeal after the long years since it was written. Many of the subjects that Juvenal lashes at with his sharp wit are still apply today (government corruption and decadence among others).
However, Juvenal clearly wrote his satires for the era of the roman empire, not the 21st century, and his refferences often fly over the reader's head. The translator has done a fabulous job in explaining these details in the copious notes at the back of the book. It is highly suggested that one reads sections of the notes before reading those sections in the satires to gain the greatest understanding.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jon Chambers on April 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Yes, Dr Jones may well be right in suggesting that there are better editions than this (although it would have been useful if he'd told us exactly which ones and why!). However, Peter Green arguably offers the best introduction to Juvenal's Satires. After all, Green is not writing for the specialist but for the average, intelligent reader - the kind of reader that Penguin Classics habitually caters for. Jones probably has scholars like Susanna Braund in mind and I'd imagine that her editions are those that professional classicists like him find most valuable. She offers an extremely perceptive commentary, full Latin text and a translation that is, I suspect, closer to the letter than Green's. But Braund comes at a hefty price - £18 for Volume I alone.

In any case, this Penguin edition has lots to offer besides value. Green captures the spirit and vitality, as well as the sharply ironic humour, of the original at least as well as Braund or Rudd, the two main competitors. His Juvenal sounds fresh, witty and modern (as well as occasionally loathsome, misogynistic and xenophobic). His Introduction, moreover, is extensive and engaging. It may well be 'old-fashioned' in its lack of enthusiasm for the 'persona theory' (ie the view that the poet is donning a mask and not voicing his own opinions, thereby preventing us from reading the satires as self-revelation). But Green does at least address 'the much-vexed question of Juvenal's satirical persona', and gives us an alternative approach. He inclines to the view that Juvenal's savage indignation resulted from humbling personal experience. According to long-held tradition, he was exiled - probably to Egypt.
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43 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Juvenal was a misanthrope who looked around at the people he saw in ancient Rome and decided that most people were dishonest, corrupt, obsessed with sex, stupid, cheaters, etc. It's an ugly picture but hard to argue with as people are pretty much the same now. There are some masterly depictions here and some very good common sense, too. Not a pick me up. More like a "pull you down". Still worth reading to confirm your worst suspicions and also as an antidote to much positive thinking nonsense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By om on August 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Juvenal is hilarious, but in this translation, there are more "new" (to me) words than in the satire in the book we read when I studied at the university. This is probably because the translator chooses words with the most correct meaning, if you compare them with Juvenals choice of words? In that case, that is good, but it's more challenging to read.
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