Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
PersiusA Study in Food, Philosophy, and the Figural$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Shadi Bartsch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226241845

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241982.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

The Cannibal Poets

The Cannibal Poets

(p.15) Chapter One The Cannibal Poets

Shadi Bartsch

University of Chicago Press

Persius plays off the Ars Poetica of Horace, his predecessor in satire, by changing Horace’s condemnation of the badly integrated poetic corpus into a literal description of bad poetry as mutilated bodies. Further metaphorical sleight of hand allows him to suggest that reading or reciting bad poetry (these mutilated bodies) is akin to a form of cannibalism, especially if one is “eating” the literary tradition only to “vomit it up” in a derivative form. Persius manipulates the central metaphor of digestion here to link medical injunctions against culinary missteps to the idea that listening to unhealthy forms of verse might be equally bad for one’s health. The meatiness and omophagia that are made to characterize certain poetic forms recall the meat-eating feasts of epic, a genre Persius abjures; likewise, the notion of the poet as a hungry belly is made to problematize all poetic efforts that seek profit the praise of an audience. The etymology of the word “satura” may have been “a plate of rich food,” but Persius goes against the grain in claiming that his own writing is precisely the opposite of such gastropoetic excess.

Keywords:   Ars Poetica, belly, gaster, indigestion, consumption, cannibalism, Thyestes, satura, Attius Labeo, ut picture poesis

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.