This work contains a major revision of Douglas Thomson's Catullus: A Critical Edition (1978), with the addition of a full commentary and a wholly new introduction. For the introduction and for each of the poems there is an extensive and current bibliography.
In the introduction, apart from sections on the life of Catullus, on the arrangement of the poems, and on their literary background, there is a lengthy discussion of the history of the text, as well as a review of the progress of Catullan studies from the editio princeps to the present day.
There are about seventy changes from the previous edition in the text of the poems. The critical apparatus has also been extensively revised. In addition, the Table of Manuscripts, which has come to be regarded as standard, has been updated without alteration to the numbering sequence.
Though this is not primarily intended as a 'school edition,' the commentary includes, in addition to critical judgments, translations and interpretations of words and phrases that may help to illuminate readings in the text.
Catullus offers readers a new text of the poems, with a commentary, a codicology of the manuscript tradition, and a thorough review of Catullus scholarship.
'Thomson is a most reliable and sympathetic guide to the poet. In addition to issues of text, he is especially concerned with matters of language and structure ... Here a well-known poem appears in a new light, and this is characteristic of the very considerable achievement of this edition. Thomson has made a significant contribution to the study of Latin poetry by producing a freshly considered and sharply illuminated text of Catallus that is founded upon the sound practice of philology.'