Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quintus Horatius Flaccus. Opera. Venice: Aldus Manutius. 1501.

Unlike our modern concern conception of satire that is often associated with ridicule and attack, Horace used satire to “playfully say what it true” (ludentum dicere verum) as he wrote about a wide range of issues, personalities and situations. The works of Horace were attractive to an increasingly literate public during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as his philosophy showed that one could live morally without religious faith. Printers viewed Horatian works as guaranteed bestsellers, which may explain why many copies of his works surfaced after the invention of metallic moveable type. It is therefore somewhat ironic that this copy shown (a small octavo edition probably intended for the general public) proved unsuccessful. It is possible that the book’s lack of success may be attributed to its overall look which may have disappointed an audience more accustomed to extravagant-looking books.


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