Petronius' Satyricon, long regarded as the first 'novel' of the Western tradition, has always sparked controversy. It has been puzzled over as a strikingly modernist riddle, elevated as a work of exemplary comic realism, condemned as obscene and repackaged as a morality tale. This reading of the surviving portions of the work shows how the Satyricon fuses the anarchic and the classic, the comic and the disturbing, and presents readers with a labyrinth of narratorial viewpoints. Dr Rimell argues that the surviving fragments are connected by an imagery of disintegration, focused on the pervasive Neronian metaphor of the literary text as a human or animal body. Throughout, she discusses the limits of dominant twentieth-century views of the Satyricon as bawdy pantomime, and challenges prevailing restrictions of Petronian corporeality to material or non-metaphorical realms. This 'novel' emerges as both very Roman and very satirical in its 'intestinal' view of reality.

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