Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Beauty of Virgil

John J. Miller interviews Sarah Ruden, translator of a recent edition of Virgil's Aeneid. An excerpt:

RUDEN: I had to translate a major classic or find another career. Translating something less important than the Aeneid doesn’t help much with a livelihood. But I had divided feelings at first. At nineteen I had seized on Virgil’s Eclogues with a loopy teenage love. But I had a variety of distastes for the Aeneid. It’s a war poem, and I’m a Quaker pacifist. And a lot of the story is just hokey, and a lot of the tone bombastic or hysterical. These rhetorical faults, and killing as something well-intentioned people can do, only slowly came into perspective through a deeper experience of the exquisite language and the author’s superb balance of engagement and irony.

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