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Civil War (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Lucan , Susan H. Braund
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 May 2008 Oxford World's Classics
This new translation in free verse conveys the full force of Lucan's writing and his grimly realistic view of the subject. The Introduction sets the scene for the reader unfamiliar with Lucan and explores his relationship with earlier writers of Latin epic, and his interest in the sensational.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (8 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540686
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This has brief notes, but a good detailed introduction, excellent on, e.g. exemplarity ... and descriptions of death ... very good.' Greece & Rome, April 1993 'B.'s able introduction and over one hundred pages of notes will make her work specially useful in courses covering post-Augustan literature or epic. B. covers a lot of ground admirably . Very welcome are B.'s pages ... on Lucan's learning ... B. shows her usual poise in describing the poem itself.' Roland Mayer, King's College, London, The Classical Review

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Of wars across Emathian plains, worse than civil wars, and of legality conferred on crime we sing, and of a mighty people attacking its own guts with victorious sword-hand, of kin facing kin, and, once the pact of tyranny was broken, of conflict waged with all the forces of the shaken world for universal guilt, and of standards ranged in enmity against standards, of eagles matched and javelins threatening javelins. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and sensational 10 Feb 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lucan was the nephew of Seneca the Younger (one-time tutor to Nero and forced by him to commit suicide) and so he has a very personal response to hereditary monarchy which comes over very clearly in this text. Re-telling the story of the civil war waged between Julius Caesar and Pompey, he also explores the re-establishment of monarchy vs. the supposed independence of the republic.

This is a very literary text and relies on the reader's knowledge of other Roman epics especially Virgil's Aeneid, but also Ovid's Metamorphoses which itself challenged what the epic genre could and should encompass. But it's not strictly essential to have a knowledge of either Roman literature or even history to enjoy this book though it undoubtedly helps in terms of exploring the nuances.

Braund's translation (OUP Oxford World Classics 1992) of the Latin poetry is in free verse, and is flowing and powerful. Her notes and especially introduction are excellent contextualising the poem in many directions.

I have to admit that this isn't one of my favourite Latin texts but Lucan's sensational episodes are very gothic and almost worth reading in themselves, replete as they are with bloody portents, witches, and all manner of gore. Caesar's affair with Cleopatra is also extremely lurid but it's a shame that the text breaks off at that point as Lucan never finished the poem. So worth a read but not a good introduction to Latin literature.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lucan's Civil war 24 July 2013
By Lucy
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a wonderful translation, but why are there no links from the text to the notes in the kindle edition? - it's impossible to find the note you want.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another version of Lucan 21 July 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If I had known it was another translation of Lucan, I would not have ordered it, BUT I would have made a mistake. This work has a better translation for the modern reader, and lots of good supporting information. Some of the comparisons I made with other versions make me wish I had this ten years ago. The notes are worth the price of the book!
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Gore, War, and Monumental Verse" 24 Jan 2002
By Johannes Platonicus - Published on
Lucan, the author of the full-throated but incomplete epic the "Civil War", certainly deserves a spot next to the great Latin poets Ovid, Horace, and Virgil, whose epic works mark the pinnacle eloquence and intelligence of Latin verse. The epic was written during the reign of Nero in the first century AD, and it is characterized by its vehement condemnation of civil war and imperialistic sentiments--this possibly caused Lucan's later fall out of Nero's favor. The primary characters in the epic are Julius Caesar, who is portrayed as a destructive warmonger, and Pompey (Magnus), who is described as ambitious and over his prime. The vivid descriptions of the wars in this work are exciting and at the same time sobering since Lucan's narrative never fails to reveal those attributes of civil war which invoke the most disturbing of feelings. For all this, Lucan's "Civil War" is recommended, and also because the Oxford World Classics always present reliable translations, and this particular edition retains Lucan's charming and long-winded verse that courses so smoothly through the hearts and minds reader's who are fortunate enough to come into contact with it.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Historical Epic 18 Dec 2007
By Theodore J. Freeman - Published on
An underrated work of the Silver Age. There are some excellent epsiodes that could stand on their own as mini-epics: the suicides of Vulteius and comrades, Appius 'rape' of the Pythia, Caesar's journey by sea, Scaeva's aristeia, Erictho's necromancy, and Cato's journey through Africa to name just a few. The historical insights into the lives of Caesar, Pompey, and Cato are also especially enlightening. Absolutely worth a first and second look!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Braund's Translation of the Text is Excellent 5 Oct 2013
By Aaron - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are not many translations of Lucan's Civil War, sometimes titled Pharsalia.Susan H Braund's translation of Lucan's Civil War is a great translation. Lucan's Civil War is a work from the time of Nero and is incomplete due to the authors death. Nonetheless it is a great epic that is quite different from the others. It takes on a grotesque tone with descriptions of battles and descriptions of ghosts and witches. It takes place during the Civil War that saw Caesar rise to power and does not hide who Lucan supports. Some of the poetic use is lost in this translation due to its translation to Latin but it makes up for this with its explicit character. Braund captures the heterodox Stoicism that underlies the text and makes it appear not just in the overarching story but in the characters as they relate to each other. Passive Aggressive tones are captured just as well as the sense of foreboding and pessimism the text expresses.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Braund's Lucan 15 Dec 2012
By Ryan Mease - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Braund is painfully literal, which may her translation great as an aid to my reading of the Latin text, but made the translation itself a bit unexciting. The trouble with Lucan, in my view, is that so many of his richest moments are also incredibly subtle. There's also no way to deny that it's difficult--very difficult--to render the geographical/astronomical/sophistic passages interesting to modern English readers.

Braund had a great set of notes at the end, too. (I wish these were footnotes, but beggars can't be choosers. There aren't many editions of English Lucan in print.)
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