Reviews for Aeneid


Choice Reviews 2008 July
"Translating the Aeneid is a humbling experience," laments Ahl (Cornell Univ.), who goes on to confess that "finding an appropriate level of diction has been hard." As The New York Times reported in January 2007, "Virgil is suddenly newsy." Three major new translations of Aeneid have appeared since 2005, including a widely heralded one by Robert Fagles (2006), and another (by Sarah Ruden) is forthcoming. Apparently, a tale of odyssey and war, exile and violence, hate and vengeance can still command attention after two thousand years. The Aeneid resonates because of its humanity, pietas (which Ahl translates as "righteousness"), and ambiguity, not to mention the "manifest destiny" it enfolds. Ahl offers a masterful unraveling of all this, especially the puns (paronomasia), and his brilliant "performance" attempts to echo and imitate the poetic complexities of an ancient and highly sophisticated Latin hexameter. Readers of Ahl's well-crafted lines will come face-to-face with the excitement and energy of Virgil's moving original. Fantham's 40-page introduction will enlighten both new readers and old fans; also helpful are the maps of the Roman world (including Aeneas's Mediterranean itinerary), the select bibliography, extensive glossary, index of proper names, and-- especially--Ahl's 100 pages of explanatory notes. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. Copyright 2008 American Library Association.

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Library Journal Reviews 2008 March #2

Ahl (classics & comparative literature, Cornell Univ.) has previously published translations of Seneca's and Lucan's works and has written books on Sophocles, Lucan, and Ovid. His new translation of this great Latin classic, Virgil's tale of Aeneas's seven-year journey from Troy to Italy, joins recent efforts by Stanley Lombardo (Hackett, 2005) and Robert Fagles (Penguin, 2006). Here, Ahl employs a version of Virgil's hexameter verse, in which the first syllable is accented. Unlike previous translators, he tries to capture some of Virgil's wordplay, puns, and anagrams, aiming to remain true to the original Latin. The overall results are accurate but not as fluent or vigorous as the translations by Lombardo and Fagles. While those translations remain the first choice for general readers interested mainly in The Aeneid 's narrative aspects, Ahl's translation is good for those wanting a fuller sense of Virgil's language and poetic artistry. In addition to an indexed glossary of names, Ahl includes notes explaining references; classicist Elaine Fantham offers a substantial introduction discussing Virgil, Aeneas, and The Aeneid . Recommended for all public and academic libraries.--T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA

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