Scholia Reviews 13 (2004) 12.

Elizabeth H. Sutherland, Horace's Well-Trained Reader. Towards a Methodology of Audience Participation in the Odes. (Studien zur klassischen Philologie, vol. 136). Frankfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang, 2002. Pp. 260. ISBN 3-631-39725-9. SFR59.00.

Frances Muecke
Classics, University of Sydney

Sutherland's book is both a contribution to theoretical debate around crucial concepts for the interpretation of Roman poetry and an essay in the reading of the Odes. In this review I give more space to the treatment of the concepts with which the book operates than to specific details of the readings.

The bulk of the book consists in running analyses of selected poems, or groups of poems, from Odes 1-3.[[1]] Very little space is given to preliminaries. A few pages at the beginning of the introduction ('Lyric Poetry and its Recipients', pp. 11-16) briefly describe the Odes as 'poetic conversation' between 'various lyric voices' and their audiences (pp. 11-13). Briefly signalling her adoption of the 'persona' theory, Sutherland admits that a historical figure created the text, but then, in the following discussion, shifts our attention to the poems or the speakers as the locus of meaning. It seems she might agree with the radical version of the 'persona' theory recently made very explicit by Lowell Edmunds (in a chapter entitled Persona): 'every element of a poem . . . is activated by the speaker or persona of the poem who speaks for, but is not identical to, the poet, and it is activated in a reader' (Edmunds 2001: 64).[[2]] These basic critical concepts are used, not explained or justified.

The book's title directs us towards the reader but then swerves away to audience participation. 'Audience' appears in the subject index, but 'reader' does not, nor does 'addressee'. Why is 'audience' the privileged term, when so much of the book is inevitably about reading'? Of course, 'audience' has a wider spectrum of meanings, from 'recipients' to 'hearers', and Sutherland wants to highlight the listener, because individual odes have 'speakers' and 'voices'. Without going into the question at any length she accepts that the Odes operate with a pretence of the orality of archaic lyric. While she alludes to the practice of recitation (pp. 12f., cf. p. 34), the parts of her argument which depend on the placing of poems in the complete collection of Odes 1-3 require a mode of reception that is predominantly readerly (cf. Edmunds [2]). Neither Sutherland nor Edmunds consider Gordon Williams' argument that the poetry of this period assumed a special sort of reading.[[3]]

Too recent for consideration by Sutherland is Gregory Hutchinson's proposal that Books 1 and 2 were published separately before the collection of the three books.[[4]] Hutchinson's perceptions of the individuality of each book might complicate Sutherland's idea of 'linear development' (p. 12) and 'a steady progress both in the lyricist's self- presentation and in the demands that he makes of his audience' (p. 13). In any case, issues of chronology do not have much importance for Sutherland. Although she is attempting 'to reconstruct a context for the ancient reception of the Odes' (p. 13), matters of aesthetics and ethics are more important for her than questions of history or politics.

Edmunds 2001 can also be mentioned as a supplement to Sutherland's approach, highlighting as it does the contributions of Richard Heinze and Mario Citroni (the formalist as opposed to the historicist), neither of whom is in Sutherland's bibliography.[[5]]

Sutherland agrees with most contemporary audience- oriented theorists that poems have a plurality of audiences. For her these are not historical as they are for Citroni and McNeill (his 'rings of audience' are distinguished by 'a different degree and kind of access' among 'Horace's contemporary general readership'),[[6]] but a function of the poem's rhetorical organization. She distinguishes the addressee, the 'internal audience' (the fictional group within the world of the poem), and the 'external audience' (the hearer or hearers at any time, p. 17). Sutherland assumes that we, Horace's modern audience, 'will attempt to assimilate ourselves to that ideal external audience of Rome in the late first century B.C.' (p. 17). In what way is this external audience 'ideal'? And, Lowell Edmunds would add (pp. 89f.), Why?

What Sutherland is most interested in is 'the relationship between the speaker of each ode and that ode's external audience' (p. 17). While I find the constant displacement of the reader by the audience somewhat unnecessary, especially when first and second readings are involved (p. 47), the shifting designation of the 'I' of the poem is confusing. In the analysis of Carm. 1.5 (pp. 42-50), for example, we move through ego, the poet, the speaker of 1.5, Horace, the lyricist, and the lyric speaker. Is this just for the sake of variety, or do these terms denote different functions? Sometimes the poet seems to have to do with word choice, but then why should he be distinguished from the poets of 1.1. and 1.2? Poet may be indistinguishable from speaker, but why call the speaker of 1.5 a poet? If poet means 'persona' who was the writer of the text? Why should speakers be interested in involving us in their texts? Does lyricist always have generic connotations? I am not disturbed by the proposition of multiple voices in the Odes, by complex personae, or the notion that the 'I' of a poem is not to be identified tout court with the real poet. As McNeill nicely puts it 'the Horaces of Horace are personae' ([6] p. 5). I am desiderating a clear statement about the kinds of voices and the use of the terminology.

As an example of Sutherland's methodology let us take her analysis of Carm. 1.2, which is one of her first illustrations of 'the primary rhetorical maneuvers . . . of the Horatian lyric ego' (p. 50). Carm. 1.2 has no conventional addressee, and the explicit second person reference to Octavian is withheld until the very last line. McNeill has discussed the audiences of this ode. His conclusion was that Horace uncharacteristically mismanaged his audience, 'the result of privileging the perspective of the outer over the inner ring' (p. 114). He believes that the panegyric of Octavian, with its reminder of Julius Caesar's assassination, runs the risk of offending the princeps. Sutherland, on the other hand, argues that the goal of the ode as a whole is 'to draw external and internal audience into a shared experience' (p. 42). This is done through control of shifting emotional response, manipulation of the position of the external audience (inclusion, exclusion), and the demand that we 'search out the connections among the different parts of the ode' (p. 34). At the same time 'the speaker . . . establishes himself as a leader to whom his internal audience can turn' (p. 35). Thus the modus operandi involves a definition of the speaker's roles, the positioning of the external and internal audiences, and the tracing of their emotional involvement through shifts of focus and certain aspects of language and content. In the case of 1.2 Sutherland is not interested in the contribution of Virgil's salvationist themes in the Georgics to the construction of Horace's public voice, nor does she mention its prefigurings in the Epodes.

This book takes an original approach and pursues it coherently. It will encourage its readers to approach Horace with new eyes whether or not they accept the larger claims it makes for the role of Horace's lyric as ethical instruction.


[[1]] The poems chosen are those 'that are densest in programmatic content' (p. 13): In Chapter 1, 'The Introduction of the Lyricist' (pp. 17-50), Carm. 1.1, 1.2, and 1.5; Chapter 2 is 'An Invitation to the Party: The Horatian Symposium and Audience Participation in Carm. 1.9, 1.37, and 1.38 (pp. 51-74); Chapter 3 is'Carm. 2.1-12: Negotiating the lyric identity' (pp. 75-130); in Chapter 4, 'Departing from the Norm: Poet and Culture, Poet and Community' (pp. 131-52) Carm. 2.19-20; in Chapter 5, 'The Training of an Ethical Roman: Leadership by Example in the Roman Odes (pp. 151-210) Carm. 3.1-6; Chapter 6 is 'Capping the Monumentum: Public and Private, Chaos and Control in Carm. 3.29-3.30' (pp. 210-34).

[[2]] Lowell Edmunds, Intertextuality and the Reading of Roman Poetry (Baltimore and London 2001).

[[3]] Edmunds [2] 108-32; Gordon Williams, Figures of Thought in Roman Poetry (New Haven and London 1980) ix-xiii.

[[4]] G. O. Hutchinson, 'The publication and individuality of Horace Odes Books 1-3' CQ 52.2 (2002) 517-37.

[[5]] Edmunds [2] 83-94; R. Heinze, 'Die horazische Ode' in Erich Burck (ed.), Vom Geist des Römertums (Leipzig 1938) 185-212; M. Citroni, Poesia e lettori in Roma antica: Forme della communicazione letteraria (Bari 1995).

[[6]] Randall L. B. McNeill, Horace: Image, Identity, and Audience (Baltimore and London 2001) 37f.