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on 21 September 2009
This is a very impressive translation of Virgil's epic poem. Ahl achieves wonders by creating a lively and stylish poem that works well in modern English all the while keeping his translation surprisingly close to the original Latin; his version is much more literal than, say, David West's prose version. This is even more impressive when one learns that Ahl has also retained the metre of the original, creating a verse translation in Virgilian hexameter that skips along fluidly, just as Virgil's poem does. This aspect of the translation really brings it to life, and thrillingly celebrates in the poem's metric qualities - something many modern translators fail to achieve and thus miss a vital element of Virgil's style.

Ahl clearly understands this text thoroughly, down to the tiniest details, something that becomes increasing apparent when reading his insightful notes that accompany his translation and his Translator's Note that prefaces it. Ahl demonstrates the skill of translation at its very finest and this version really is the next best thing to experiencing this epic in its original Latin. As a postgraduate Classics student, I cannot recommend this translation highly enough, as it has proved invaluable to me both as a resource for studying Virgil's text as well as enjoying an English translation in its own right.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 January 2014
(This is a review of the Frederick Ahl 2007 translation for OUP/OWC)

Translating a dense and complex text like the Aeneid is never going to be easy: apart from the question of turning classical Latin into English, there are all kinds of issues such as metre, word-play, allusions and poetic texture to consider. Frederick Ahl is aware of these problems and, in his translator's note, talks us through the decisions which inform his translation.

Unlike the David West The Aeneid for Penguin, or the Loeb Fairclough/Goold (Aeneid), Ahl has decided to write a verse translation to mark the fact that this is epic poetry not a novel, a stance with which I am in sympathy. It's always going to be down to personal taste whether this works for each individual reader or not, but I like it. Ahl avoids the over-simplification of West, and strives to give this some of the poetic and literary resonance that is not part of the Loeb ideology.

Ahl is deeply familiar with the text, and recognises that a translation is a reading - one of many which can spring from the text itself. He supplements the poem with extensive notes and an up to date bibliography (c.2007) which highlights some of the key scholarly works as a starting point, the only thing possible given the massive literature on this poem. Fantham's book by book introduction is also helpful, highlighting some of the puzzles and ongoing scholarly debates about this poem.

So of course this isn't `the' Aeneid: it's a translation that springs from the cultural shapings of 2007. For Latinless readers, or for anyone needing to teach this text in translation, this is my current choice. For those with Latin looking for a crib, I would stick with the Loeb.
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on 15 September 2014
Am enjoying this translation- Oxford World Classics are always nicely bound and excellent condition.
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on 14 March 2016
Very good translation, easy to read and understand
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on 1 June 2015
An excellent full edition!
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on 23 October 2011
Academics barely capable of writing stilted prose are often delusional: they think they are poets. Here comes another one. Frederick Ahl can well be a competent Latinist, but as concerns Virgil he should have confined himself to commenting on him. In his Translator's Note he says that a good translation of the Aeneid must "sing", yet his "verses" are dumb. More than this, his translation is filled with so many omissions and gratuitous interpolations that most lines are unrecognizable. A dignified prose version would have been a far better choice, and a far lesser failure.

Warning: JKR, a self-styled postgraduate classicist, writes in his extolling review that he made use of Ahl's translation to STUDY Virgil's text. God Almighty! Where on earth did he ever get his degree?
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