A Turkish Angora Cat in Paris: An insight into Catullus’ ‘Sparrow Poem’… Gregory Nagy
2019.03.18 | By Lucia Athanassaki This response has been inspired by Gregory Nagy’s discussion of Catullus’ famous ‘Sparrow Poem’ (c. 2) in Classical Inquiries 2018.12.13. According to Nagy, Catullus’ model was Sappho’s ‘Sparrow Song’, lost to us but not to Catullus, in which the Lesbian poet expressed her affection for her little sparrow. Taking my lead from a Modern Greek pet song, I shall explore a slightly different path, the possibility that the ‘Sparrow Poem’ is not a poetic exercise on a Sapphic song, but Catullus’ imaginative reconstruction of Sappho’s relationship with Aphrodite’s winged charioteer. Nagy's special research interests include archaic Greek literature and oral traditions. His ongoing goal is to integrate his research with collaborative as well as intergenerational mentorships and public engagement initiatives, especially in the context of his Harvard College and Harvard DCE courses on the ancient Greek hero (with almost 10,000 alumni), and his HarvardX MOOC, which has enrolled over 90,000 learners since its launch in 2013. His recent monographs include The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (HUP 2013) and Masterpieces of Metonymy: From Ancient Greek Times to Now (HUP, fall 2015).Since 2000, he has been the Director of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC, while continuing to teach at the Harvard campus in Cambridge as the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature.