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'Friendship, Love, Abuse, etc: the shorter poems of Catallus' by Ranald Barnicot
‘Friendship, Love, Abuse, etc’ is a collection of Ranald Barnicot’s translations into English of 109 shorter poems by the Roman poet Catullus (c 87 – c 57BCE), with an introduction on Catullus’s biography and literary context, and detailed notes on the poems at the back of the book. Barnicot has endeavoured to translate not only the meaning but also the spirit of the poems, in English language that reflects the full range of Catullus’s own expression of his relationships with his contemporaries: from passionate to tender to playful; from mildly scandalous to obscene; and from merely gossipy to sarcastic or virulently insulting.
"This bold new arrangement has rich rewards for readers: it also leaves Catullus’ poems of abuse and recrimination exposed at the end of the volume, lending them an unsettling shrillness....
"This lively translation will undoubtedly win Catullus new admirers. The volume is furnished with a clear introduction and includes a generous portion of absorbing endnotes. Here novices will find the crucial information they need, while old hands may be inspired to dust off that neglected copy of Catullus: A Commentary by C. J. Fordyce keeping watch from a high shelf. Whether tackling an enemy like ‘Prick the Poet’ (CV) or counting up beloved Lesbia’s ‘colossal kisses’ in ‘Kiss Poem 3’ (VII), Catullus and Barnicot blaze through this book as conjurers of the unexpected:
Day incandescent in my calendar of gloom
Restoring you to me
You have flown back to me – kazoom!
Naturally, I’m over the moon! ‘Unexpectedly’ (CVII), (p. 45)."
— Richard Hawtree. Read his whole review and a profile of Ranald Barnicot here: https://thehighwindowpress.com/
Above all, Barnicot’s English translations do justice to the poetry and the spirit of the original.
This is a collection of poems to be savoured and enjoyed by readers at every level.
In 2019, Ranald Barnicot received high praise in The Cannon’s Mouth for his anthology of translations of poems from European languages, ‘By Me, Through Me, Original Poems and Translations’ (Alba Publishing):
“As this collection ... proves, the translator’s creative life is one of real commitment and sacrifice, but one that offers real rewards. … Mr Barnicot demonstrates a certain sensitivity regarding the form and equilibrium of poetry, as well as having a specific hand that offers a respectful appropriation of ideas and intentions… All of the translations are both accurate and beautifully reconstructed.” — Thomas F Bugno
Barnicot’s introduction and 14 pages of notes are deeply researched
offering an invaluable guide to the poems and illuminating Catullus’s life as a member of the ‘Novi Poetae’ (‘New Poets’) and his informal contacts among the rulers of the Roman world in the first century before Christ. There’s a full bibliography.
This is a collection for the scholar and the layman alike, offering an insight into the poems and the life of the most controversial and fearless poet of ancient Rome, who dared to satirise the most powerful politicians and military leaders of his time, wrote poignant love poetry to Lesbia, whom he adored and lost, and directed the most scurrilous verses at his rivals and other enemies.
'Friendship, Love, Abuse etc by Ranald Barnicot
Published August 2020
Paperback, 21.0 x 1.48 cm. 100 pages, 107 poems, 14 pages of notes and full biography,
Postage within the UK is free (up to £12.00)