The Mask of the Parasite

Auteur: Damon, C.
Titre: The Mask of the Parasite
Lieu èdition: Ann Arbor
Éditeur: University of Michigan Press
Annèe edition: 1998
Pages: 320
Mots-clès: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Comptes rendus:

Elizabeth Tylawsky, BMCR 1999.04.22

Description: [Abstract] : When Romans applied the term "parasite" to contemporaries in dependent circumstances, or clientes, they were evoking one of the stock characters of ancient Greek comedy. In the Roman world the parasite was moved out of his native genre into the literatures of invective and social criticism, where his Greek origins made him a uniquely useful transmitter of Roman perceptions. Whenever the figure of the parasite is used to mask a person in Roman society, we know that an effort of interpretation is underway. The fit between the mask and its wearer is in the eyes of the beholder, and in Rome the mask seemed to fit people in many different situations: entrepreneurs, tax-farmers, lawyers, female companions, philosophers, and poets. Cynthia Damon maintains that the parasite of Latin literature is a negative reflection of the cliens. In Part One she assembles a composite picture of the comic parasite using as evidence fragments of Greek comedy, works from Greek writers of the imperial period whose works reflect the comic tradition, and the ten complete plays of Roman comedy in which a parasite appears. In parts two and three she examines the ways in which Cicero and the satirists use the figure of the parasite: Cicero in belittling his opponents in court, Horace and Martial in creating a negative foil for the poeta cliens, Juvenal in painting contemporary patron/client relationships as morally and spiritually bankrupt.
(For pro Quinctio, v. pp. 195-206, for In Verrem, 206-222).
About Pro Quinctio, Vasaly 2002 : "pp. 195-206, a perceptive discussion of the traits assigned to Naevius and the tacit connection of these traits to those of the literary parasite, especially as found in Lucilius".
Sigle auteur: Damon 1998