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The Aeneid of Virgil Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520045505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520045507
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Of arms I sing and the hero, destiny's exile, Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
This translation of Virgil's masterpiece is the perfect choice for a reader who wishes to experience the original form of this Augustine work of art. It is written in easy flowing and accessible blank verse, unlike the rather cloggy and unattractive prose translations. After all The Aeneid was written to be read as an epic poem: not the post Renaissance format of a novel, and Lewis's translation is as close to capturing the originally intended delivery as you can get without the lengthy process of learning Latin .
This classic epic poem was commissioned by Augustus Caesar in 31BC, a task which was reluctantly accepted by Virgil. Ten years of writing followed, and unfortunately the poet died, by contracting a disease, whilst returning from a trip to Athens. The epic was not fully revised by then, yet the contents of all twelve books are complete except for a rather abrupt ending.
However, just before his death Virgil left strict instructions for The Aeneid to be burnt: lost to the world for all time. Yet this commanded was counteracted by Caesar. Why was this? Why didn't Virgil want the greatest poem in Latin to be discovered for its prominence?
These are questions which will truly interest any reader. When you hold this book in your hands you cannot help thinking that Virgil did not want you to read this - if it had not been for the Imperial arm of Caesar we would be forever lacking this great Latin work. Thus a guilty feeling pervades when reading The Aeneid, moreover, those of you already well versed in Greek mythology will know that Actaeon paid very highly for his antlers, a lesson hard to forget whilst perusing prohibited splendour.
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By A Customer on Oct. 25 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Narrating in timeless detail the compelling saga of the hero Aeneas,Vergil has created some of the most time defying lines ever to grace in print.Alive the characters leap out of the page with words that form some of the greatest passages in world literature.So vivid the events as they convincingly come to life that a reader couldnt help but be amazed & wonder at this moving screen enacting in front of him.Vergil's greatest strength is in his powers of description,trademarks of authors of the past.Indeed;the passion,the drama,the warfare,& the relationships that brew within this cauldron of inspired writing can get one flipping through this truly admirable book to finish in a short time.Compelling,riveting,emotionally upheaving,exciting;words endlessly spill forth in trying to describe this undoubtable classic.Although some of the poet's dialogues & beliefs that clearly represent his time may be a bit wearying to a reader bent on a more modern taste;one cannot deny that while reading this admirable masterpiece one cant but help feel the presence of greatness lilting in one's senses to peaking climaxes around him.
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By A Customer on April 14 2000
Format: Paperback
Allen Mandelbaum has produced a fairly good translation of the Aeneid. If you are looking for a companion to the Latin, then look elsewhere, possibly to Jackson-Knight. I find that Mandelbaum handled the Comedia better than he did Virgil. Anyway, reading a translation without reading the original does the poem no justice at all.
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Format: Paperback
If you like the works of Homer then you will thoroughly enjoy The Aeneid. The story begins right after the fall of Troy and tells of the travels of the Trojans as they search for their destined land. Virgil writes very much in the style of Homer and anyone who is a fan of the Iliad and Odyssey will really enjoy this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 174 reviews
161 of 166 people found the following review helpful
The "other" side of the Trojan war Feb. 20 2000
By D. Roberts - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Publius Vergilius Maro was commisioned by Caesar Augustus to author a national epic for Rome. The work which Virgil composed for this purpose was the Aeneid. It is an epic poem that tells the story of a minor character from Homer's Iliad who leads a rag-tag band from the smouldering ruins of Troy in order to found a "New Troy" to the west: Rome. It is in the Aeneid, not the Iliad (as most people who have not read the works tend to believe) that we see the spectacle of the Trojan Horse & the famous line "I do not trust Greeks bearing gifts." The Iliad ends with the death of Hektor - before the plan of the Trojan Horse is devised by Odysseus. The Odyssey picks up after the sack of Troy. The Aeneid fills in the gaps & narrates the story of the few Trojans who escape the wrath of the Greeks. According to legend, Romulus & Remes (the two brothers who eventually founded the city itself) were descendents of Aeneas. As is usual, Fitzgerald's translation is top notch. I have read Mandelbaum's rendition as well & much prefer Mr. Fitzgerald. The book also contains a useful glossary & postscript which help elucidate the allusions to Hannibal & Cleopatra which the Romans of Virgil's day would have picked up right away, but which might be unfamiliar to modern day readers. Also, it is HIGHLY recommended that one read the Iliad & the Odyssey before embarking on Virgil's work. [...] But, for a quick answer: the reason that Juno (Hera in the Greek) has a vendetta against Aeneas is due to the fact that he is Trojan. This all derives from the judgment of Paris when Juno was "jilted" by the bribe that Aphrodite offered Paris (also a Trojan). To offer any more info at this point would be too great of a digression, but what I will say is that this work is NOT (I repeat NOT) for someone to merely pick up & dive into w/out doing his or her pre-requisite reading. Do your homework, become familiar with the myths & tales of what has gone on before, then read the Aeneid. You will be glad you did, for this is an extraordinary epic. Also, for those who harbor the ambition, the university of Oxford professor Peter Levi has recently written a wonderful, succinct biography of Virgil. "The Death Of Virgil" by Hermann Broch is a mind-blowing masterpiece as well. Indeed, one can never get enough Virgil.
90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
imagine that he almost burned it June 10 2000
By M. H. Bayliss - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although Virgil spent years writing the Aeneid, by his death, he felt that it was imperfect and asked that it be burned. Luckily for all concerned, his request was denied or we'd never have this epic. If you are new to Greek and Roman epics, I'd recommend starting with the Iliad and the Odyssey first. Not only will most novices find them more readable (especially the Odyssey), any reader will pick up important background information that will help immeasurably in following the Aeneid. Although I'm a huge fan of the Aeneid and have read many of the books in the original Latin, I'd suggest to most readers just to read books 1,2,4 and 6 unless you are really drawn in. It's not that the other books are not great (they are), it's just that unless you are a specialist, you won't want to read all about the battles and extra stuff -- book 4 is the love story of Dido and Aeneus and for many is the highlight of the poem. Book 6 is the trip to to the underworld which is so important to later writers and poets like Dante, TS Eliot, etc.... The fall of Troy is contained in books 1 and 2. I enjoy Fitzgerald's translation, but as an amateur Latinist, I prefer Allan Mandelbaum's translation with Moser's illustrations. When I was translating from the Latin, only Mandelbaum was so close to the original that he could help a student. I think Mandelbaum is a genius for rendering the poem so close to the original. It's unfair to call him wooden -- Virgil wrote the whole thing in Dacytlic hexameter which is hardly wooden in Latin, although it can be repetitive at times. Not to worry -- he used a lot of spondaic substititions (altering a long, short short with a long, long) to vary the meter.
So, if you just want a taste, read books 1,2,4 and 6 and if you love it, by all means read the whole epic.
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Clearly and Skillfully Rendered Feb. 24 2005
By B. Nicholas Clifton Childers Webb, - Published on
Format: Paperback
David West's translation of this epic (actually rather manageably sized when compared with the Odyssey) pulls away from the tradition of the translations from the first half or so of the 20th century, in which great works of grand Greek and Latin poetry were forced unyieldingly into affected (and often stilted) English verse (think Fitzgerald's beautiful but distractingly florid renditions). West charts a different course, reflecting more modern trends in scholarship. He chooses not to match verse with verse and recreate the epic in English in an attempt to draw the contemporary reader into it as deeply as the original reader. Instead, he conveys as much of the original epic's meaning and nuance as possible in simple, clear, surprisingly elegant prose, allowing Vergil himself to draw the reader in once more.

This is a lucid, graceful delivery of the Aeneid. It's an enjoyable read that moves quickly and offers more of the original than any other translation. I've read several, and this mature, well-presented work is the most useful, satisfying, and accessible of all. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Diamond Hard and Bright. March 7 2006
By Billyjack D'Urberville - Published on
Format: Paperback
The editorial reviews shoud be heeded: this is, and remains, the best Aeneid in English. Fitzgerald's rendition is hard as a diamond and as crystal clear and brilliant, stately and spell-binding as watching a tall ship move across the bay.

For many years there was no satisfactory Virgil in modern English, and this was the first. There are now several, and many interesting, but this one should remain paramount because acquaintence with this poem is absolutely essential. It is often overlooked in world lit survey courses which go no farther than the Greeks. There is a lingering prejudice that Roman literature is inferior. That may well be generally true, but Virgil towers above all his Roman peers -- no one approaches him. He is the necessary link and pivot between the ancient understanding of man and civilization and ours; he is our ground, as Dante well recognized by honoring him as guide in the the Divine Comedy.

Love the Greeks as one must, the added dimension of heterosexual passion brought into classical literature by Virgil is breath-taking. Hopefully, you will never be the same after reading the great Aeneas-Dido affair -- to date there is really nothing like it in world literature. Oh yes, the Greeks were interested in women, even intelligent ones, especially honorouble ones, frequently devilish and playful and meddling ones. But Woman was first conveyed in all wholeness, dimensionality and grandeur by this poet -- perhaps something your teacher or mum failed to mention -- but no excuse for missing it now. Makes that business about Helen and Troy seem like bad comix . . . .
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've read both translations, many many times. From an educational perspective, especially for the classics student, I would recommend the Mandelbaum translation, as the language more closely matches the visually breathtaking Latin of the original. However, for someone just picking it up to read it, with perhaps little side-knowledge, the Fitzgerald version is far more captivating. It is an easier read, more like modern prose (relatively speaking, of course), and the images are far clearer.

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