Somehow I managed to get through high school and college without ever having read The Aeneid. I’m happy to have finally corrected that.
Inspired by Homer’s slightly better-known, more familiar works, Virgil’s The Aeneid takes the hero, Aeneas, a survivor of the fall of Troy, and tells his story of war and defeat, his loves and passion, and presents the best of human nobility and the pain of human suffering.
The book is much more episodic than I was expecting (I guess I wasn’t expecting anything, specifically). Our hero wanders and has some encounters. This takes up the early portions of the book. Then his wanderings get him to places where he isn’t wanted and this the second portion of the book.
He may have lost the war, but the gods haven’t abandoned him … or have they? These ancient Greek gods don’t always seem to have their s*** together and they’re just as likely to use a mortal to mess with another god as they are to help the suffering man. But the gods tell Aeneas that there’s a land for him just around the corner. What they don’t tell him is that he’s going to have to fight for it.
This translation by David West is quite read-able. It’s still full of flowery prose, which sometimes elicits eyerolls from me, but I really appreciated this very accessible edition.
This is a ‘classic’ and as such, anyone interested in literature probably should read it, and for that, I’d heartily recommend this edition. But if I were given a choice, I would prefer to read Homer.
Looking for a good book? Virgil’s The Aeneid, translated and introduced by David West, is the classic, made accessible for modern readers. We see that heroes are human and fallible and the gods are untrustworthy.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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translator: David West
hardcover, 368 pages