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The Aeneid of Virgil (Bantam Classics) Reissue Edition

34 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0553210415
ISBN-10: 0553210416
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Allen Mandelbaum has produced a living Aeneid, a version that is unmistakably poetry." -- Erich Segal, The New York Times Book Review

"A brilliant translation; the only one since Dryden which reads like English verse and conveys some of the majesty and pathos of the original." -- Bernard M. W. Knox

"Mandelbaum has... given us a contemporary experience of the masterpiece, at last." -- David Ignatow

From the Publisher

Aeneas flees the ashes of Troy to found the city of Rome and change forever the course of the Western world--as literature as well. Virgil's Aeneid is as eternal as Rome itself, a sweeping epic of arms and heroism--the searching portrait of a man caught between love and duty, human feeling and the force of fate--that has influenced writers for over 2,000 years. Filled with drama, passion, and the universal pathos that only a masterpiece can express. The Aeneid is a book for all the time and all people.

"Allen Mandelbaum has produced a living Aeneid, a version that is unmistakably poetry." -- Erich Segal, The New York Times Book Review

"A brilliant translation; the only one since Dryden which reads like English verse and conveys some of the majesty and pathos of the original." -- Bernard M. W. Knox

"Mandelbaum has... given us a contemporary experience of the masterpiece, at last." -- David Ignatow

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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reissue edition (September 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553210416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553210415
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By kevin m antonio on December 16, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With Robert Fagles's version of 'The Aeneid' just released, I thought that would be the version I would be reading. I tried Robert Fitzgerald's version some years ago, but I gave up after the 5th or 6th "book".

After reading the numerous glowing reviews for Allen Mandelbaum's translation, I thought I would give it a shot.... plus it cost a lot less than Fagles's! I was not disappointed.

Mr. Mandelbaum's take on Virgil's epic is eminently accessible, very easy to understand (but not dumbed down at all). The glossary at the end is a huge help in identifying characters and places (as many of them go by more than one name).

This is a thrilling tale full of adventure, romance, war, friendship and loyalty. If you buy only one version, this is the one to get.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By SeanG on June 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a very good English verse rendering of Virgil's classic. If you like epic poetry but can't read classical languages this translation is probably the next best thing. Though nothing compares to the original this is a faithful translation, and the verse makes for a more interesting presentation than prose.
This is a "no frills" volume (hence the price), so it is best for readers who already know the basic premise of The Aeneid and the main characters. It has a basic glossary that may be a useful refresher for knowledge already acquired, but it lacks the translator's introduction that typically sets the stage (both for the plot and the poem's place in history) and triples the price in other volumes.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Roman society was enamoured of Greek culture -- many of the best 'Roman' things were Greek; the major gods were derivative of the Greek pantheon; philosophy, literature, science, political ideals, architecture -- all this was adopted from the Greeks. It makes sense that, at the point of their ascendancy in the world, they would long for an epic history similar to the Homeric legends; the Iliad and the Odyssey, written some 500 years after the actual events they depict, tell of the heroism of the Greeks in their battle against Troy (Ilium). The Aeneid, written by Vergil 700 years after Homer, at the commission of Augustus (himself in the process of consolidating his authority over Rome), turns the heroic victory of the much-admired Greeks on its head by postulating a survivor from Troy, Aeneas, who undergoes as journey akin to the Odyssey, even further afield.

Vergil constructs Aeneas, a very minor character in the Iliad, as the princely survivor and pilgrim from Troy, on a journey through the Mediterranean in search of a new home. According to Fitzgerald, who wrote a brief postscript to the poem, Vergil created a Homeric hero set in a Homeric age, purposefully following the Iliad and Odyssey as if they were formula, in the way that many a Hollywood director follows the formulaic pattern of past successful films. Vergil did not create the Trojan legend of Roman origins, but his poem solidified the notion in popular and scholarly sentiment.

Vergil sets the seeds for future animosity between Carthage and Rome in the Aeneid, too -- the curse of queen Dido on the descendants of Aeneas of never-ending strife played into then-recent recollections of war in the Roman mind.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on August 25, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Allen Mandelbaum has given us the greatest English verse translation of the greatest Latin epic, the Aeneid. Mandelbaum manages to tune the Latin lyre to the beats of English verse without befouling it with the tediousness of the rhyming couplet. One truly hears the ancient voice of Virgil resounding in the contemporary pages of Mandelbaum's work. Aeneas on quest for homeland, Juno's savage rage, the burning passion of Dido, the two hero's struggle for the hand of Lavinia--all these themes and more will be realized almost fully in the original light upon which the master Virgil cast them.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By JS on May 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read 4 different translations of the Aeneid. This is the best by far. It is not a literal, line for line translation, which often comes off the wrong way. It is a more free translation, to convey the meaning, not the same structure as the original latin work. Allen Mandelbaum does an amazing job and his writing is very beautiful. Even from the very first page this book jumps out at you.
The reason why Virgil wanted this book destroyed after his death was because he felt it was unfinished. But there is very little that should be added. There are a couple of very minor plot holes (such as how did the Trojans built their fortress in Italy so quickly?) that Virgil had not fully polished yet, but who cares? The story is amazing, and unlike the Iliad or the Odyssey, the gods don't interfere in each and every small thing that happens, which was annoying in those books.
If you liked the Iliad and Odyssey, you will love the Aeneid. Consider it like a sequel. You find out what happened to certain characters like Andromache, Helenus or Diomedes after the Trojan war. I just can't recommend this book enough, and it's impossible to put its greatness into a few words. Why a movie version has never been made, I will never know, but maybe that's a blessing, because I shudder to think of the damage a Hollywood version would do to the image of the book.
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