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Many generations of readers have noticed the prominence given to children and to heroes--usually young men--in the poems of Vergil and his contemporary Catullus. But until now it has not always been clear why Vergil and Catullus employ these characters, or what readers are to make of these sometimes odd figures. In The Child and the Hero: Coming of Age in Catullus and Vergil, Mark Petrini thoughtfully explores this group of characters and helps illuminate their places in the poems. After offering a brief introduction describing the world in which such characters find themselves, the author studies in greater detail the key figures of Pallas, Nisus and Euryalus, and Iulus--in whom the future of Rome lies. Readers learn the links between these figures and literary characters who come before and after, and the author thus helps the reader perceive the many levels on which Vergilian and Catullan poems resonate. This volume will be an important companion for all readers of Vergil both in English and in Latin, as well as for those interested in literary characterization and literary presentation of marginal figures. Mark Petrini is Assistant Professor of Classics, Columbia University.