Kate Meng Brassel
My book project offers a new approach to interpreting the satires of Persius, a young poet who maintained a self-conscious distance from the circle of the emperor Nero. Making use of incunables and other early books housed in Rome, I reimagine the interpretive possibilities presented by premodern bookmakers and readers and interrogate the influence of modern standardized bindings upon the formation of classical literary histories. This monograph project has a strong, first-person sensibility that narrates the convergence of poetry and philosophy in the material text, arguing that Persius’s libellus is an anticlassicizing experiment testing tired philosophical and literary traditions and tropes. The central premise of my argument—that Persius’s Saturae ought to be read as a book—recognizes that the satirical corpus self-consciously problematizes its own status as a literary artefact. In Autopsy of a Satirist, I include original verse translations that seek to open participation in interpreting the text to nonspecialist readers.