Rebecca Ariel Porte

  • Ruminations in an Emergency

    NO ONE KNOWS how long Petronius’s Satyricon was or even if its author really is Petronius, a Roman courtier and arbiter elegantiae, official tastemaker, to Nero. Many parts of the Satyricon are lost. By some estimates, the complete opus may have been as long as Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. And like In Search of Lost Time, the Satyricon is a work in which life and death may hang on the course of a dinner party. The host of the hedonistic gathering at the heart of Petronius’s prosimetrum (a Latin genre that mingles poetry and prose) is Trimalchio, an ostentatious lout with money to