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Virgil: Eclogues (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics) Paperback – May 27, 1977

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521291071 ISBN-10: 0521291070

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Editorial Reviews


' ... Coleman's edition, interpretative notes, and analyses are obviously the product of scrupulous scholarship and imaginative reflection. His commentary is an elegant, flexible synthesis designed for students who cherish clarity, enlightened argument, and fruitful interpretation.' Phoenix

Language Notes

Text: English, Latin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 27, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521291070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521291071
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Knot Hole Book Review on July 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
No reading of the Eclogues is complete without a reading of the Idylls of Theocritus.

Having said that, and having (re-)read that, I find myself commenting on the other review, which was excellent (though it was written for a different edition). I disagree that Virgil "slavishly imitated" Theocritus. My impression is that the Eclogues are more of an artful (and extensive) adaptation. The fear of plagiarism and insistence on originality is a modern phenomenon. Ancient literature depended upon the recasting of existing works to suit the poet's purpose and taste. Appropriation provided a cultural continuum that preserved and transmitted the beauty, values, and ideas of one's predecessors. In Virgil's case, poetic license would not have referred to a deviation from form or tradition as it does today; it would have meant knowing the rules and biding by them.

If anything was slavishly imitated by Virgil, it would have been the characters created by Theocritus. Daphnis, Thyrsis, Amaryllis, Tityrus, Corydon, Damoetas and Menalcas all make somewhat more than cameo appearances in the Eclogues. They have in fact re-emerged as Virgil's main cast of characters. In some cases they appear as the poet himself!

The Idylls as an art form only superficially affected Virgil. Of course he adapted the singing contests to his own settings and themes. The prizes still included cups, heifers, girls, banes and boons. While the Idylls were a collection of poems written at various times and for various purposes, the Eclogues appear to be (and there is ample evidence to support this) composed as a coherent set. They are the equivalent of a modern-day popular music album. Cohesive devices link one poem to another; matching numbers of lines provide internal balance; there is an introduction and a conclusion.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By katyred on September 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A lovely poetic interpretation of the Eclogues, but remember that it is a poetical interpretation. This is not a literal translation and Ferry takes some liberties with what might be Virgils' intentions to maintain a certain level of poetical language. If one is well acquainted with Virgil's shepherds, Ferry's might seem a little less vivid. I prefer Ferry's translations of Horace as being more dynamic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Khares on September 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
Cambridge "Green and Yellow" series are superb: they aim for a sweet spot between professionals and advanced undergrads or grad students. This Vergil Eclogues is no exception: very, very good on literary aspects; helpful on grammar and syntax. It is always a Goldilocks challenge: too much help, not enough help. This book is right for people with sound foundations in Latin.
Arrived well within promised time (less than 10 mailing days); condition was listed as "like new", and it was as if human hands had never touched it. Cheaper than going to publisher. I would use these guys again in a minute.
I am not always convinced that Amazon's shipping beats that of publishers, but the speed, convenience and condition of the product I have received the last several times makes Amazon well worthwhile.
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The Eclogues and the Georgics of Virgil are the great fonts of example (out of Theocritus and Hesiod) for the tradition of pastoral, and have a long reach of influence in European and English literature. (And art: from medieval illumination and the Romanesque decorations of San Isidoro in Leon to the works of Blake, Palmer and Calvert.) But since the versions of Dryden--which I can't say drive me mad with excitement--the English translations have been pretty pedestrian stuff, a far cry from Dryden's "the best poem by the best poet" (of the Georgics) or Tennyson's "the mightiest measure ever molded by the mind of man." The Georgics suffer a bit in my mind from Virgil's program, of writing a semi-practical almanac of raising crops and livestock. But it's a vision of men at work, learning to read the signs of nature but also dealing with nature's enmity and dangers. This insistence on the drudgery and repetition of husbandry, the skills required and the fairly terrifying descriptions of adders lurking in the horsestalls and the onset of a plague of anthrax mean that Virgil's farmers and shepherds are not frolicking poetic cutouts. Ferry renders the Georgics in supple pentameters and gives passage after passage of unforced fineness--beauty rising from behind the words. The Eclogues wander around more--they float a bit more easily just off the ground than the Georgics--and Ferry's translations capture the ecstatic, sweet timbre of the work--rills of pure delight, grounded in the real and political world behind it.

Glenn Shea, from Glenn's Book Notes, at
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir VINE VOICE on February 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank you, Penguin, for publishing this slender volume which is small enough to tuck into my carryon whenever I travel to Italy; for Vergil's "Eclogues," written in the first century BC, celebrate the essence of the Italian landscape. Vergil's susurrant pines and splashing fountains; his humming bees and keening doves; his savours of crushed garlic and thyme are omnipresent, as any walk in Rome, Ostia Antica, or Hadrian's Villa on a summer's day will reveal. Reading Vergil's "Eclogues" makes one almost forget about the incessant din of the Roman traffic.

So that readers of Latin can fully appreciate these ten short poems, Penguin has set Vergil's Latin text on the left page and and Guy Lee's translation on the right page. The translator has essayed to approximate the Latin hexameter by using English Alexandrine meter. Translation is a matter of taste. I am not certain that one approaching these poems from English with no knowledge of Latin will get a sense of "what Vergil was really like" from the translator's rendition, which is nevertheless punctilious. Furthermore, since the poems are not annotated, the words "lucerne" (cytisus) and "sappy vervain" (verbenas. . . pinguis) may send non-Latin readers rushing to a dictionary.

Vergil may be regarded as 'untranslatable' in that one must read the "Eclogues" in Latin to appreciate the beauty of these poems. For example "The very pines,/ the very springs, these very orchards called to you/" is accurate, but it fails to catch Vergil's brilliant combined sibilance, consonance, and alliteration that imitates these sounds of nature themselves: "ipsae te Tityre, pinus/, ipsi te fontes, ipsa haec arbusta vocabant.
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Virgil: Eclogues (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics)
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