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A PEN CENTER USA 2006 Literary Award Finalist
Long a master of the crafts of Homeric translation and of rhapsodic performance, Stanley Lombardo now turns to the quintessential epic of Roman antiquity, a work with deep roots in the Homeric tradition. With characteristic virtuosity, he delivers a rendering of the Aeneid as compelling as his groundbreaking translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey, yet one that—like the Aeneid itself—conveys a unique epic sensibility and a haunting artistry all its own.
W. R. Johnson's Introduction makes an ideal companion to the translation, offering brilliant insight into the legend of Aeneas; the contrasting roles of the gods, fate, and fortune in Homeric versus Virgilian epic; the character of Aeneas as both wanderer and warrior; Aeneas' relationship to both his enemy Turnus and his lover Dido; the theme of doomed youths in the epic; and Virgil's relationship to the brutal history of Rome that he memorializes in his poem.
A map, a Glossary of Names, a Translator's Preface, and Suggestions for Further Reading are also included.
"Adapting words of the ancient critic Longinus, [Lombardo] refers to the intense light of noon of the Iliad, the magical glow of the setting sun in the Odyssey, and the chiaroscuro of the Aeneid, a darkness visible. This latter phrase is the title of a famous interpretation of the Aeneid by W. R. Johnson, who contributes a splendid essay to the translation. Whether recited or read, the present volume stands as another fine performance on Lombardo's part. Summing up: Highly recommended."
—C. Fantazzi, CHOICE
"Lombardo...tends to let Virgil be Virgil, and so avoids imposing unwarranted interpretation on the unwary reader. . . . [W.R. Johnson's] introduction is masterful and illuminating."
—Hayden Pelliccia, The New York Review of Books
"Crisp, idiomatic, and precise, this is a translation for our era. The list of further reading, grounded in the writings of W.R. Johnson (who also wrote the Introduction) and Michael C. J. Putnam, suggests the context that informs the translation: here, as the translator says in the Preface, you will find an Aeneid that works more in the shadows than in the light. . . . This translation would be excellent for classroom use: not only would it incite fascinating discussions about issues of war and empire, but it also reads well aloud. . . . Together with Johnson's Introduction, this volume offers the Aeneid in terms that will resonate strongly with the general reader of today."
—Sarah Spence, New England Classical Journal
"An enjoyable, compellingly readable Aeneid. No other translator comes close to Lombardo at capturing the pace and power of the poem sheerly as a piece of narrative."
—Joseph Farrell, Professor of Classical Studies and Associate Dean for Arts and Letters,
University of Pennsylvania
"This is quite simply the finest translation of the Aeneid I have encountered. I personally have seven translations that I have read and this one is the most learned, subtle, accurate, and clear. It reads superbly well and the translator's choice of adjectives is particularly effective. He has captured the work in a decisive way."
—Steve Tuck, Department of Classics, Miami University
"Lombardo's Aeneid, like Virgil's, derives much of its power from the use of ordinary language, arranged poetically, but ordinary at the level of the word and even of the sentence. Too often Virgil's classicism has been established by making his epic too formal, too Homeric, and it is refreshing to find in the pages of this Aeneid a modernism that in turn encourages us to see the foundational poem of western civilization as anything but 'classical,' 'Homeric,' 'epic' even. The translation thus sits comfortably with the similarly disruptive and penetrating introductory essay of W. R. Johnson, one of the chief guides for reading Virgil after Vietnam and during Iraq."
—Richard Thomas, Professor of Greek and Latin, Department of Classics, Harvard University
"Stanley Lombardo takes aim and delivers a straightforward, at times daringly literal text, that students of the poem, whether young or old, can grasp and that can start them on a path of appreciation. An immensely valuable element of the edition is the extraordinarily generous Introduction provided by W. R. Johnson, one of the most subtle Virgilian masters writing in English today."
—Ralph J. Hexter, Hampshire College
"Well translated and well presented. Highly recommended."
—Hugh H. Davis, Saint Mary's School
About the Authors:
Stanley Lombardo is Professor of Classics, University of Kansas. His previous translations include Homer's Iliad (1997, Hackett) and Odyssey (2000, Hackett), Hesiod's Works & Days and Theogony (1993, Hackett), and Sappho, Poems and Fragments (2002, Hackett), a PEN Center USA 2003 Literary Award Finalist.
W. R. Johnson is Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, Emeritus, University of Chicago. His previously published works include Darkness Visible: A Study of Vergil's Aeneid (1976, University of California Press), Horace and the Dialectic of Freedom (1993, Cornell University Press), The Idea of Lyric (1982, University of California Press), Lucretius and the Modern World (2000, Duckworth), and Momentary Monsters: Lucan and His Heroes (1987, Cornell University Press).
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