Chapter 5. Poetic Architecture

  1. Julia Haig Gaisser

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444310474.ch5



How to Cite

Haig Gaisser, J. (2009) Poetic Architecture, in Catullus, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444310474.ch5

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405118897

Online ISBN: 9781444310474



  • poetic architecture;
  • Catullus' poetic architecture - from the word order of individual verses, to the articulation of ideas within a poem, to the linking of poems across collection by shared language and themes;
  • Catullan architectural methods - question-and-answer template;
  • Catullus uses linear repetition as structuring device for this elegant little poem;
  • Looking at Ariadne looking at Theseus (Poem 64.60–70) - description of the coverlet on the marriage bed of Peleus and Thetis;
  • An Offering to the Dead (Poem 101) - In poem 101 - Catullus bidding farewell to his brother, who has died far from home—in Troy, laments for his brother's death in poems 65 and 68b;
  • Chinese Boxes: Poem 68b - In 68b Catullus thanks his friend Allius for letting him use his house for an erotic rendezvous;
  • Catullus as a master of poetic architecture - combining them in shapes that express, enhance, and, above all, create meaning;
  • inviting the reader to supplement - the sense of one poem with that of another, activating latent possibilities for meaning


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Ordering Techniques

  • How Many Kisses? (Poem 7)

  • Now Spring (Poem 46)

  • Looking at Ariadne looking at Theseus (Poem 64.60-70)

  • An Offering to the Dead (Poem 101)

  • Chinese Boxes: Poem 68b

  • Conclusion

  • Notes