Chapter 2. Poetry Books

  1. Julia Haig Gaisser

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444310474.ch2



How to Cite

Haig Gaisser, J. (2009) Poetry Books, in Catullus, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444310474.ch2

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 20 MAR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405118897

Online ISBN: 9781444310474



  • poetry books;
  • Catullus' conception of poetry and how it should be written - the poem, like many in Catullus, possesses a high degree of what we might call poetic economy;
  • Circulating Poetry - codicilli or pugillares or tabellae;
  • Catullus' praise of Nepos in poem 1 - sometimes seen as ironic;
  • Contents of the Libellus - When Nepos unrolled the papyrus of his dedication copy, he found an album of Catullus' poems;
  • Catullus himself - issued and arranged all the poems in the order we have them today;
  • Unrolling the Book - The papyrus reader would also have more than one column in the field of vision at a time;
  • this reconstruction suggesting that the arrangement of large portions of the collection - is much older than the transfer to codex;
  • Readers and Listeners - person unrolling the papyrus and construing its words could be a solitary reader in a quiet place and reading silently


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Circulating Poetry

  • Contents of the Libellus

  • Reading the Collection

  • Unrolling the Book

  • Readers and Listeners

  • Notes