Nikki's Reviews > The Aeneid

The Aeneid by Virgil
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Apr 01, 12

bookshelves: classics, greek-roman
Read from March 29 to 30, 2012

I'm not sure if this is the translation I read back when I did Classics at GCSE and A Level. It seems familiar, but of course, the story would be and two different close translations might still be similar. Anyway, with my course on Tragic Love in the Trojan War, I've had the urge to reread The Aeneid all term.

I can't imagine the loss to the world that it would have been if Vergil's wishes had been carried out when it came to the burning of the manuscript. Parts of The Aeneid are just beautiful -- Homer's work has its own vitality and its own robust beauty, but not the polish of Vergil's work. There's a lot of gorgeous metaphors and similes here, things that work just right, and moments of tenderness that you wouldn't expect in the middle of what is admittedly a rather gory epic. Aeneas' attempts to embrace his dead (and therefore ghostly) wife and father are just, oh, and the little touches of humanity we get from a lot of the characters -- Amata pleading with Turnus to stay safe, Lavinia blushing, Dido falling so hopelessly in love...

It's an incredibly rich text and there's so much to enjoy about it. I should read a good poetic translation at some point -- I think I own one -- but in the meantime even the prose translation, which I imagine was far from an ideal way to translate Vergil's intentions, is lovely.
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Reading Progress

03/29/2012 page 75
22.0% "Forgot how tender a writer Vergil can be. The scene with Hecuba and Priam! The scene where Aeneas tries to embrace Creusa!"

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by James (last edited Apr 13, 2012 11:39AM) (new)

James Thane I read The Aeneid the first time around in Latin when I was in high school. Last year I picked up the new translation by Robert Fagles and got about halfway through it before I got distracted by moving and a variety of other diversions. Your review makes me want to get back to it ASAP.


Nikki It's definitely worth reading! There are parts that are less interesting, but there really are some gorgeous bits.


David Sarkies It certainly would have been a loss to the world. Fortunately nobody ever carries out a dying author's last wishes.


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