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The Aeneid: A New Prose Translation (Wonders of the World) Paperback – 25 Apr 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (25 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140448195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140448191
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,065,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

'I sing of arms and of the man fated to be an exile ...'

Part of the beautifully presented 'Wonders of the World' series. A prose translation with an introduction by David West.

'A poem for our time? The Aeneid is the story of a man who lived three thousand years ago in the city of Troy in the north-west tip of Asia. What has that to do with us?

Troy was besieged and sacked by the Greeks. After a series of disasters Aeneas met and loved a woman, Dido, queen of Carthage, but obeyed the call of duty to his people and his gods and left her to her death. Then, after long years of wandering, he reached Italy, fought a bitter war against the peoples of Latium and in the end formed an alliance with them which enabled him to found his city of Lavinium. From these beginnings, in 333 years, in 753BC, the city of Rome was to be founded. The Romans had arrived in Italy.' From the Introduction

About the Author

Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19 BC) was born in the north of Italy and completed his education in Rome. He also wrote THE ECLOGUES, completed in 37 BC, and THE GEORGICS, which he finished in 29 BC. He then devoted the rest of his life to the composition of his greatest work, THE AENEID. Since retiring from the Latin Chair at Newcastle University, David West has translated the Odes and Epodes of Horace and written commentaries on Odes I and on Odes II.

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I sing of arms and of the man, fated to be an exile, who long since left the land of Troy and came to Italy to the shores of Lavinium; and a great pounding he took by land and sea at he hands of the heavenly gods because of the fierce and unforgetting anger of Juno. Read the first page
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gillian Jack VINE VOICE on 9 April 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
David West's translation is near perfect. It was the recommended edition for my university Latin course as it follows Virgil's text to the letter. This edtion will give you the most reliable indication of what the original text short of reading the Latin. It is brilliant. West manages to achieve all the momentum, excitement and feeling of the Aeneid. It is a great read. I highly recommend it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The title says it all. All though, yes, Aeneas supposedly founded Rome the links to that proof are as tenuous as were those that led to that famous discovery of Agamemnon.
Virgil's work was unfinished at the time of his death. This was his 'shot at Homer's title' on which he worked, every day, for almost 20 years. Virgil wanted the book destroyed as he didn't consider it finished. Of course we can only wonder quite how good the book would have been if he had finished it.
This book was the culmanation of many works which parallel Homer's epic poems and the simerlarities are great. Due to this I advise you read both Homer's epic poems before reading this. The Odyessey so that you can see the parallels between the Aeneid and it; the Illiad so you can see the intricate details from which Virgil derives his tale.
The story follows Aeneas from Troy, after being sacked by the Greeks, he sails for Italy where he is destined to found the Roman race. Throughout his journey he (of course) encounters many trials which he has to pass to get to his 'final destination.' I personally do not speak Latin so I am unable to tell you how true this translasion is to the original but I can tell you it is extremely well written and has that 'joie de vivre' that is present in all ancient works. The story heavily utilises similies to convey meanings, these are all expertly crafted and have not lost their meaning even through time.
Although it is possible for 'the average reader' to read, enjoy and understand the Aenead with no trouble at all, unless you are a university don or happen to have an extensive knowledge in the classical era I advise you purchase a book, (if one is available,) which tells you the hidden meanings of the book. There are some things that you just would miss without one.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Mike C on 6 Nov 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
Decent translation, well read, but the catch (which you are not warned of) is that you don't get the entire text, just fairly full edited highlights.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Sep 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is good book for fans of the Iliad and the Odyssey, but lacks the finesse of Homers great epics, Still definately worth the read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The best Aeneid translation I have read... 22 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
West's translation is, in a word, excellent. In all of the years I have studied Latin, I have seen many translations of this legendary work of Virgil, and all of them have been verse translations. In my experience, I have found that such translations, at times, have clouded what Virgil wrote in the original Latin. This translation, however, is different. West decided to do a prose translation, and in doing so has captured the true essence of Virgil's work. It is not the same as reading the original Latin, but the beauty and eloquence in the original have been well represented in this translation. This is a translation that can be truly enjoyed by all, regardless of your age, gender, or education.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A ho-hum translation of the incredible epic 2 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must first say to you that I really do love the Aeneid. There are some brilliant sections contained in that epic. Its poetry goes unsurpassed in spots, and the characterization would not be matched for another thousand and more years in the Western tradition. It's also the most sophisticated of all the classical epics; not only does it tell the tale of a brave hero with the attributes most dear to his race(just like all the other epics), but it also serves as propaganda for Augustus Caesar(fun to analyze), warns about the costs of fate(witness Dido!), and inflicts deep pathos upon the reader, along with articulating the purpose of the Roman Empire.
However, this translation is by no means adequate to convey the meaning behind this tale. I've read the Latin, which is of course superior, but it isn't that hard to find a better translation. Epics are supposed to be in high language...that's how they sounded even to the Romans! This new translation cuts out many poetic passages and renders them in dull, conversational English. Perhaps it is the easiest to understand, but using that argument would lead to the elevation of "See Spot Run" as highest art.
I suggest W F Jackson Knight's translation instead; Penguin, knowing that this new one would NOT be for everybody, and that the discerning would look for something better, still prints the other one too! The poetry, the faithfulness, and all the other important attributes of translation are much better taken care of in that one, so beware David West's travesty and get the good stuff instead.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"Somewhere In Between Prose and Verse" 30 Nov 2001
By Johannes Platonicus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For individuals less inclined to reading verse, David West's prose translation will come as a long-awaited relief. David West does not discard those elements that make Virgil so pleasant to read, and suprisingly manages to convert and preserve the original song and eloquence that marks the beauty of Virgil's great classic, the Aenied. In contrast with other editions this is moderately recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
David West's original translation 1 Sep 2008
By Ryan Kouroukis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a somewhat different version of David West's Aeneid than the easily obtainable Penguin classic re-issue. In 2002 he revised his original translation of 1991. And I think, to his detriment.

Upon comparison, this version (Penguin's "Seven Wonders of the World" series) is by far a superior version. The tautness and simpleness of the original translation make this epic feel like an epic. He keeps Virgil's long breaths and gives Virgil's language a poetic and fiery contemporary idiom somewhat akin to Stanley Lombardo's translation.

I think this is by far one of the greatest translations of Virgil's masterpiece! But try to avoid his revised version.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
THE BEST PROPAGANDA I HAVE EVER READ 27 Dec 1997
By wdavmoore@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Roman Empire did not rise in a day. Over centuries it had to rely on sharp forged metal, professional soldiers, patriotic women, ambitious leaders, famine, surplus, and ingenuity. But these aggregate forces waxed and waned under its emperor. If the emperor was a nincompoop or a mamma's boy, the Empire suffered. If the emperor was a shrewd man who realized the burden of having all the power of the ancient world, the Empire flourished. The Aeneid was written during the reign of Caesar Augustus, a time when the empire flourised. Augustus was a man able to lead the Empire after the chaos when the Senate stuck it to Julius. There were lands to conquer, tribes to humiliate, slaves to be had. Augustus was smart enough to realize he had to sell the concept of Manifest Destiny to Rome, especially to the countless women who would have to watch their husbands, brothers, and boys go far away and not return. His friend, Virgil, came right into play. Probably at Augustus' prompting, Virgil wrote The Aeneid. If you read beyond the intriguing story (and excellent translation) you will see it is a propaganda tool for the ancient emperor. Peppered with reasons to expand and why you should hate Carthage, The Aeneid was a glorious, slick way to sell one of the most difficult ideas of any emerging powerful society. It worked.
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