Petronius’ Satyricon is a rampant and vivacious Roman adventure dating back to the first century, during the reign of Nero. It follows the exploits of Encolpius, an impoverished ex-gladiator, and his boy-lover Giton. The action is fleet and the narrative sweeping: over the course of their journey we meet a host of lewd and comical rogues, including beggars, prostitutes, poets, sodomites, and pedants, and witness many strange and curious events, including a remarkably vulgar multi-course feast, hosted by the pompous nouveau riche Trimalchio. Considered the Odyssey of the illicit and debaucherous, the Satyricon is an exhilarating look at the underbelly of Roman society. Updated translation by W.C. Firebaugh.
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Keeble does a superb job as narrator. However, it is a pity that he had to use the Firebaugh translation which contains passages not in the original. The listener has no way of knowing what's real Petronius and what isn't, except that some of the forged bits are quite a bit more obscene than anything in the genuine text (which is saying something). Another problem with the forged interpolations is that they do not keep faith with plot line of the novel as best we can tell from what survives. The narrator in the original is impotent. Because what we have of the original is fragmentary -- the Cena Trimalchionis is the only section to survive more or less intact -- it presents peculiar difficulties for anyone trying to render it as an audiobook. It would have been better, I think, to have had the narrator explain this in an introduction.
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