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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great audio version
This really is a great bargain. The late Frederick Davidson reads W. F. Jackson Knight's flowing prose version of Virgil's great epic poem. He reads it well, though I must confess to finding his mellifluous rendering a tiny bit camp when I first listened (I soon got over that). Epic poetry was made to be read out loud, and this version really works, at least for me. We...
Published on 7 Dec. 2011 by J. E. S. Leake

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2 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars tedious...
Now it may be because I had to study this book as part of my A level course, but I found it so impossibly tedious! I have nothing against the great classics, and am a great fan of the Iliad, but this is a long book in which not much happens. By all means read it so that you can say you've read it and therefore sound intellectual, but I'm telling you that's a few hours of...
Published on 31 May 2004 by georgie_oaks


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great audio version, 7 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Aeneid (Audio CD)
This really is a great bargain. The late Frederick Davidson reads W. F. Jackson Knight's flowing prose version of Virgil's great epic poem. He reads it well, though I must confess to finding his mellifluous rendering a tiny bit camp when I first listened (I soon got over that). Epic poetry was made to be read out loud, and this version really works, at least for me. We are not accustomed to long poems, so the prose version is more natural to us, perhaps, than a version forced into a strict English verse form, and a poetic translation like Dryden's great version must become the property as much of the translating poet as the originator. Of course, Virgil spent much of his life forging the Latin hexameters from which his great poem is constructed, but without learning Latin there is no way sadly of accessing his burnished verse. Jackson Knight, the translator, was one of the greatest Virgilian scholars of the English-speaking world, and his love for Virgil does show through his translation.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I sing of a great story, 21 Jun. 2005
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Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Aeneid (Paperback)
Roman society was enamoured of Greek culture -- many of the best 'Roman' things were Greek; the major gods were derivative of the Greek pantheon; philosophy, literature, science, political ideals, architecture -- all this was adopted from the Greeks. It makes sense that, at the point of their ascendancy in the world, they would long for an epic history similar to the Homeric legends; the Iliad and the Odyssey, written some 500 years after the actual events they depict, tell of the heroism of the Greeks in their battle against Troy (Ilium). The Aeneid, written by Vergil 700 years after Homer, at the commission of Augustus (himself in the process of consolidating his authority over Rome), turns the heroic victory of the much-admired Greeks on its head by postulating a survivor from Troy, Aeneas, who undergoes as journey akin to the Odyssey, even further afield.
Vergil constructs Aeneas, a very minor character in the Iliad, as the princely survivor and pilgrim from Troy, on a journey through the Mediterranean in search of a new home. According to Fitzgerald, who wrote a brief postscript to the poem, Vergil created a Homeric hero set in a Homeric age, purposefully following the Iliad and Odyssey as if they were formula, in the way that many a Hollywood director follows the formulaic pattern of past successful films. Vergil did not create the Trojan legend of Roman origins, but his poem solidified the notion in popular and scholarly sentiment.
Vergil sets the seeds for future animosity between Carthage and Rome in the Aeneid, too -- the curse of queen Dido on the descendants of Aeneas of never-ending strife played into then-recent recollections of war in the Roman mind. Books I through VI are much more studied than VII through XII, but the whole of the Aeneid is a spectacular tale.
Books I through VI show Aeneas on the journey, and a failed love affair with Queen Dido. Aeneas is shipwrecked, and Dido (also an outcast from her homeland, setting out to found Carthage) gets Aeneas to tell her his story, in which he recasts the tale of the Trojan War and his own journey in terms that will lead to Rome. Gods and goddesses factor in here - Jupiter (the Roman Zeus) is protecting Aeneas, but Juno (the Roman Hera) favours Carthage, and is the one who caused the storm to shipwreck Aeneas near Dido so that he might be thwarted in his plan to found Rome. There is jealousy and rage because Aeneas eventually has to leave; Dido dies in a dramatic fashion, but not before her soul being given a blessed release by the favoured gods.
The most dramatic part of the story over, the reader settles into other action that, while interesting, is somewhat pale in comparison to the first half.
The Aeneid is a fascinating text, one of the greatest epics of the ancient world; it takes up the task of the Iliad/Odyssey cycle and 'updates', if you will, the story line into the Roman era. Pharr's book helps the reader to work with it in its original language, easily and methodically, with only a minimum of Latin training (one year is probably sufficient) required for engagement.
Vergil died before he could complete the story. He wished it to be burned; fortunately, Augustus had other ideas. Still, there are incomplete lines and thoughts, and occasional conflicts in the storyline that one assumes might have been worked out in the end, had more editing time been available. Despite these, the Aeneid remains a masterpiece.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a Slog but a Worthy One, 18 April 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Aeneid (Paperback)
The first thing to note is that this probably won't be as enjoyable to people who know nothing about either Homer or Augustan Rome. Don't let that put you off, go and educate yourself, I promise it will be worth it to anyone interested in the classical world. Ok, I don't expect everyone to be enthralled by the catalogue of ships (utterly unecessary in a written tradition really) but most of this book is utter genius. If you read it for nothing else then read it for the Dido and Aeneas episode, for this is one of the most powerfully told tales from the ancient world. Oh and, by the way, the blood and guts are spectacularly good too!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aeneas rocks!, 30 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Aeneid (Paperback)
For a dusty old book, this is a great read! Sex, violence, romance, adventure and more - Virgil knew a good plot when he saw it. Although some of the bloodshed is a little gratuitous, and Aeneas can be rather annoying from time to time, the book is, well a classic - a must for every bookshelf!
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2 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars tedious..., 31 May 2004
This review is from: The Aeneid (Paperback)
Now it may be because I had to study this book as part of my A level course, but I found it so impossibly tedious! I have nothing against the great classics, and am a great fan of the Iliad, but this is a long book in which not much happens. By all means read it so that you can say you've read it and therefore sound intellectual, but I'm telling you that's a few hours of your life that you're never going to get back!
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The Aeneid
The Aeneid by Virgil (Paperback - 29 Dec. 2000)
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