n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Soporific satire : Horace, Damasippus and Professor Snore (Stertinius) in 2.3

Volume 52, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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Famously warned by a fortune-teller to steer clear of the talkative (. 1.9.33-34), Horace presents himself in . 2.3 as the victim of the verbose new Stoic convert Damasippus. By far the lengthiest poem in Horace's second collection, the bulky . 2.3 is largely made up of this neophyte's long-winded lecture, ascribed by Damasippus himself to his Stoic teacher Stertinius (Prof. Snore). Although it is easy to divide the satire, on a formal basis, into portions ascribed to the various speakers, in practice it is difficult to separate Stertinius from his convert in the resulting speech-within-a-speech structure. The star-struck and passionate new convert Damasippus, I argue here, has learnt Stertinius's lengthy lecture off by heart and is doggedly spewing it back at the hapless Horace who is, I suggest, inclined to start snoring himself. By way of explanation, I examine the monologising tendencies evident in Damasippus's lecture in the light of some of the theories of the modern Russian thinker M.M. Bakhtin, in particular his theories of 'addressivity' and the idea of 'authoritative' versus 'internally persuasive' discourse.

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