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Virgil's Georgics (The Yale New Classics Series) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300119862
ISBN-10: 0300119860
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This work is clearly by a master translator. Lembke moves easily from the Latin hexameter into English verse of loose, five-beat rhythm that well captures that of the original." Michael Putnam, Brown University "A major new translation." Rosanna Warren"

Book Description

In this masterful new verse translation, Virgil’s Georgics speaks as powerfully to our times as it did to the ancient poet’s. Janet Lembke presents this unsurpassed nature poem in an American idiom that is both elegant and sensitive to the meaning and rhythm of Virgil’s original paean to the earth.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Yale New Classics Series
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (December 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300119860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300119862
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,363,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Janet Lembke's new translation of The Georgics is correctly promoted as an Americanized translation of the classic poem. Just as Romans in the movies always seem to speak with British accents, English translations of Latin classics have tended toward British -- usually antiquated British -- diction. Lembke chooses a refreshingly straightforward American idiom that nonetheless feels true to the source. Lembke clearly has a background in farming, or at least gardening, because you can almost see the dirt under her nails and smell the earth on her jeans as you read, which I suspect is how an appreciative Roman reader might have felt about Virgil's work.

Virgil wrote The Georgics in a time of turmoil, delivering a didactic poem -- a lecture -- to inspire the militarized Romans to return to the attentive, productive farming on which Roman power originally was built. Perhaps he was something of a Wendell Berry for his time, for Virgil teaches, preaches, scolds, praises, admonishes and laments all in each of the four parts of the poem. Two of his overarching themes are that man must toil to make the world productive, but that disaster can befall every endeavor despite work and know-how. These themes are as relevant to a 21st Century office worker as they were to a Roman farmer.

Finally, Virgil is also deeply patriotic, lavishing praise on Italy for its bountiful soil and climate, promoting it as the best place on Earth. Here Lembke's American translation resonates because I, like Virgil, am very partial to my native land. Virgil knew firsthand the tragedy and injustice of politics and war (his family lost their land in northern Italy to resettled veterans), and does not turn a blind eye to the flaws in his nation and the troubles of his times. But he sees redemption in the hard work of making his native land fruitful, just as any American today might do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not in a position to compare this translation to the Latin original, but Lembke is a respected classicist and her Georgics is beautifully written and includes extremely helpful notes. Virgil's Georgic's is deeper than just a simple depiction of rural life, and Lembke ably conveys its power. Here is one example, from Book 3, explaining disease that can afflict livestock:

A spinning whirlwind does not rush off the sea so thick with storms
as does a host of plagues for the group, nor do they snatch away
a single animal but a whole summer sheepfold at once--
the flock and its offspring and the whole species, both old and young.
Then anyone would understand were he to witness now
what happened long before -- lofty Alps, Danube hill forts, river-
watered fields on Adriatic shores, the abandoned kingdoms
of shepherds, their woodland pastures empty far and wide.
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Janet Lembke's translation of Virgil's Georgics is fascinating reading. What a gift to anyone's library. I'm so glad I have all Janet's books. They bear reading over & over.
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Virgil's Georgics (The Yale New Classics Series)
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