ADAMS HOLLAND, Louise,
Lucretius and the Transpadanes.
Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1979. IX,158p. Original off white cloth with dust wrps. Nice copy. 'Little is known about Lucretius beyond the fact that he lived in the first half of the first century B.C. and dedicated his 'De Rerum Natura' to a certain Memmius. The general tone of the poem and certain details of its content have led most commentators to conclude that its author was probably a Roman of aristocratic birth. This view has now been challenged by Louise Holland, whose book advances new arguments, based mainly on considerations of style and prosody, to suggest that Lucretius came from the same Transpadane area of Northern Italy as Catullus and Vergil. The book begins by considering the evidence for regional differences in the pronunciation of late Republican Latin and relies mainly on comments in Cicero's rhetorical works. (...) The main thesis of the first half of the book (chapters 1-3) is that Lucretius's use of elision reflects Northern rather than Roman practice. (...) Holland's sensitive discussion of the sound-effects in a number of individual passages is of great value in dispelling once and for all the view that frequent elision in Catullus and Lucretius is a sign of carelessness or ineptitude, but there are difficulties in accepting her overall thesis (pp.14, 17) that the type and number of elisions in a work reflect the geographical origins of its author. AS Holland's own discussion of Horace shows (p.16), one of the main factors determining the frequency of elision in Republican and Augustan verse was genre. (...) The second half of the book (chapters 4-6) moves on to consider wider aspects of Lucretius' cultural and literary background. (...) [It] is on the whole more closely argues and convincing that the first and should provoke much discussion of traditionally held views. The main value of the first half lies in the detailed analysis in chapters 2 and 3 of individual passages from Catullus and Lucretius, but its overall thesis on the geographical basis for prosodic distinctions must be declared unproven.' (ROBERT MALTBY in The Classical Review (New Series), 1981, pp.21-23). From the library of Prof. Carl Deroux.