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PersiusA Study in Food, Philosophy, and the Figural$
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Shadi Bartsch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226241845

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241982.001.0001

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The Scrape of Metaphor

The Scrape of Metaphor

(p.133) Chapter Four The Scrape of Metaphor

Shadi Bartsch

University of Chicago Press

Metaphor was characterized in ancient rhetorical theory as a “sweet” figure and a source of pleasure to readers and listeners. Both Lucretius and Horace refer to this pleasure when they defend the pedagogic value of their poetry: in offering something sweet, their poetry manages to get us to accept its serious teaching as well. Persius, however, abjures any concession to the pleasure of the reader; his verse, we hear, is full of the acris iunctura, the “harsh joining.” While some scholars have taken this to be a reference to word order in his verse and the presence of elision, it is more likely to be a characterization of Persius’ use of metaphor, which violates all the ancient standards for producing a figure that is sweet, appropriate, and not too far-fetched. The Satires are thus a poetry of displeasure, and this is part of their philosophical goal.

Keywords:   sweet, Lucretius, honey, didactic, crustulum, pleasure, acer, iunctura, elision

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