- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (November 2, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670038032
- ISBN-13: 978-0670038039
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 484 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Aeneid First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Princeton scholar Fagles follows up his celebrated Iliad and Odyssey with a new, fast-moving, readable rendition of the national epic of ancient Rome. Virgil's long-renowned narrative follows the Trojan warrior Aeneas as he carries his family from his besieged, fallen home, stops in Carthage for a doomed love affair, visits the underworld and founds in Italy, through difficult combat, the settlements that will become, first the Roman republic, and then the empire Virgil knew. Recent translators (such as Allen Mandelbaum) put Virgil's meters into English blank verse. Fagles chooses to forgo meter entirely, which lets him stay literal when he wishes, and grow eloquent when he wants: "Aeneas flies ahead, spurring his dark ranks on and storming/ over the open fields like a cloudburst wiping out the sun." A substantial preface from the eminent classicist Bernard Knox discusses Virgil's place in history, while Fagles himself appends a postscript and notes. Scholars still debate whether Virgil supported or critiqued the empire's expansion; Aeneas' story might prompt new reflection now, when Americans are already thinking about international conflict and the unexpected costs of war. (Nov.)
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From The New Yorker
Fagles's new version of Virgil's epic delicately melds the stately rhythms of the original to a contemporary cadence. Having previously produced well-received translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey, he illuminates the poem's Homeric echoes while remaining faithful to Virgil's distinctive voice. Pious Aeneas, passionate Dido, and raging Turnus are driven by the desires and rivalries of the gods-but even the gods recognize their obeisance to fate, and to the foretold Roman Empire that will produce Augustus, Virgil's patron. The excellent introduction, by Bernard Knox, gives historical and literary context, and both Knox and Fagles convincingly argue the epic's continuing relevance. Fagles, writing of Virgil's sense of "the price of empire," notes that "it seems to be a price we keep on paying, in the loss of blood and treasure, time-worn faith and hard-won hope, down to the present day."
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Top customer reviews
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The introduction is worth reading, too, explaining her decisions as a translator. I wish this were on Kindle so I could carry it with me, but as it is, I’m actually buying a second print copy, since I first bought a used copy and it turned out to have way too much student underlining. I’m buying it new now, so I can read and enjoy it unimpeded by somebody’s class notes. So buying it twice should be taken as a high compliment!
Yet she had heard an ancient rumor fly,
Long cited by the people of the sky,
That times to come should see the Trojan race
Her Carthage ruin, and her tow'rs deface...
Nowadays most people do not like rhyming couplets; they find the rhyming scheme (AA/BB/CC etc) monotonous. But if you can get used to this scheme, Dryden's translation will take off for you.
You can get this book free on Kindle. But, for a superb listening experience, treat yourself to the Audible Audio Edition (21 dollars, well worth it), read by the excellent reader Michael Page.
For some reason the best readers all seem to be British. I think it's because they were trained in classical acting (Shakespearian, Restoration, 18th century) or at least grew up with classical theater as part of their culture. One of the best readings I have ever heard is Simon Prebble's reading of Graham Greene's "Our Man in Havana," issued in cassette tapes and now sadly out of print. (Why are some of the most superb audio recordings no longer available? Some other examples are Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" with Irene Worth - who came from America - reading Cleopatra; and John Milton's "Paradise Lost" read by Anthony Quayle, only a small portion of which can now be found, if you scour LP stores.)
There is a some confusion among the commenters about which book they are commenting about. This book is the Dryden translation of Virgil's Aeneid, not the Mandelbaum or some other translation.
If you are simply looking to read this for pleasure, it is a complex read which requires active thinking and engaged reading the whole way through. It is a relatively enjoyable story, with plenty of plot twists along the way. If you regularly read epics for fun, this is the book for you.