Martial | Critical Essay by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

This literature criticism consists of approximately 6 pages of analysis & critique of Martial.
This section contains 1,578 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
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SOURCE: "The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Reception" in The Classical Heritage, edited by J. P. Sullivan, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993, pp. 124-27.

In the following excerpt from an essay originally published in 1771, Lessing salutes Martial as the first and best of the epigrammatists. In his discussion of the lewdness of some of Martial's verses, Lessing cautions against the assumption that the views expressed by the first-person narrator necessarily represent Martial's own opinions.

There were countless poets before Martial, Greek as well as Roman, who wrote epigrams, but there had never been an epigrammatist before him. By this I mean that he was the first to treat the epigram as a genre in its own right and to devote himself entirely to this genre.

Before him the epigram lay indistinguishable amid the whole throng of short poems, a mass of such infinite variety that no one...

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This section contains 1,578 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
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Critical Essay by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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