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Making Men Ridiculous: Juvenal and the Anxieties of the IndividualChristopher Nappa 2017
In his sixteen verse satires, Juvenal presents speakers who decry the breakdown in traditional Roman values and the status of Roman men as they are confronted by upstart foreigners, devious and deviant women, class traitors, the power of the imperial household, and even the body itself. The satirist castigates vice and immorality even as he revels in describing them. This book locates Juvenal's targets among the matrices of birth, wealth, class, gender, and ethnicity and walks carefully through a number of his most arresting vignettes in order to show not only what, but how, he satirizes. Moreover, the analysis shows that Juvenal's portraits sometimes escape his grasp, and, as often as not, he ends up undermining the voice with which he speaks and the values he claims to hold dear. Individual chapters look at the satirist himself, rebellious bodies, disgraced aristocrats, uppity (even murderous) wives, and the necessary but corrupting power of money. The conclusion considers the endurance of both the targets and the rhetoric behind them in the modern world.
Making Men Ridiculous will interest scholars and advanced students of ancient satire, later European satire, imperial Roman culture and literature, and class, gender, and sexuality in the ancient world.