Books

O Cruel Alexis

Virgil

'But I, while vineyards ring with the cicadas' scream,
Retrace your steps, alone, beneath the burning sun.'

Virgil's lyrical, wistful and often witty pastoral poems.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19 BCE). Virgil's other works available in Penguin Classics are The Aeneid, The Eclogues and The Georgics.

Doomed Love

Virgil

From the fall of Troy to the deadly Harpies, Aeneas' epic voyage is filled with tragedy, destruction and omens of danger. As he recounts his adventures to Dido, who gives him sanctuary, they fall in love. But the Gods intervene and Aeneas realizes their relationship cannot last.

United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Readers will be introduced to love's endlessly fascinating possibilities and extremities: romantic love, platonic love, erotic love, gay love, virginal love, adulterous love, parental love, filial love, nostalgic love, unrequited love, illicit love, not to mention lost love, twisted and obsessional love...

The Aeneid

Virgil (and others)

Robert Fagles's award-winning translations of Homer's twin works The Iliad and The Odyssey have sold more than a million copies and become classics in their own right. With this stunning modern verse translation, Fagles introduces Virgil's Aeneid to a whole new generation of readers and completes the classic triptych at the heart of Western civilisation. The Aeneid tells the story of an epic voyage in which Aeneas crosses stormy seas, becomes entangled in a tragic love affair with Dido of Cathage, descends to the world of the dead - all the way tormented by the vengeful Juno, Queen of the Gods - and finally reaches Italy, where he will fulfil his destiny: to found the Roman people. A stirring tale of arms and heroism, dispossession and defeat, and an unsparing portrait of a man caught between love, duty, and fate, The Aeneid brings to life a whole world of human passion, nobility, and courage.

Fagles's new translation retains all of the gravitas and humanity of the original as well as its powerful blend of poetry and myth. Featuring an illuminating introduction to Virgil's world from noted scholar Bernard Knox, this new Aeneid lends a vibrant, contemporary voice to the literary achievement of the ancient world.

The Georgics: A Poem of the Land

Virgil (and others)

One of the greatest poems of the classical world, Virgil's Georgics is a glorious celebration of the eternal beauty of the natural world, now brought vividly to life in a powerful new translation.

'Georgic' means 'to work the earth', and this poetic guide to country living combines practical wisdom on tending the land with exuberant fantasy and eulogies to the rhythms of nature. It describes hills strewn with wild berries in 'vine-spread autumn'; recommends watching the stars to determine the right time to plant seeds; and gives guidance on making wine and keeping bees. Yet the Georgics also tells of angry gods, bloody battles and a natural world fraught with danger from storms, pests and plagues. Expansive in its scope, lush in its language, this extraordinary work is at once a reflection on the cycles of life, death and rebirth, an argument for the nobility of labour and an impassioned reflection on the Roman Empire of Virgil's times. Kimberly Johnson's lyrical verse translation captures all the rich beauty and abundant imagery of the original, re-creating this ancient masterpiece for our times.

The Aeneid

Virgil (and others)

Robert Fagles's latest achievement completes the magnificent triptych of Western epics. A sweeping story of arms and heroism, The Aeneid follows the adventures of Aeneas, who flees the ashes of Troy to embark upon a tortuous course that brings him to Italy and fulfills his destiny as founder of the Roman people. Retaining all of the gravitas and humanity of the original, this powerful blend of poetry and myth remains as relevant today as when it was first written.

The Aeneid

Virgil (and others)

Aeneas the True - son of Venus and of a mortal father - escapes from Troy after it is sacked by the conquering Greeks. He undergoes many trials and adventures on a long sea journey, from a doomed love affair in Carthage with the tragic Queen Dido to a sojourn in the underworld. All the way, the hero is tormented by the meddling of the vengeful Juno, Queen of the Gods and a bitter enemy of Troy, but his mother and other gods protect Aeneas from despair and remind him of his ultimate destiny - to found the great city of Rome. Reflecting the Roman peoples' great interest in the 'myth' of their origins, Virgil (70-19 BC) made the story of Aeneas glow with a new light in his majestic epic.

The Aeneid

Virgil (and others)

Inspired by Homer, and the inspiration for Dante and Milton, Virgil's The Aeneid is an immortal epic poem of the ancient world that lies at the heart of Western life and culture, translated from the Latin with an introduction by David West in Penguin Classics.

After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, Virgil wrote The Aeneid to honour the emperor Augustus by praising Aeneas - Augustus' legendary ancestor. As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, The Aeneid also set out to provide rome with a literature equal to that of ancient Greece. It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven-year journey - to Carthage, where he tragically fell in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld, in the company of the Sybil of Cumae; and finally to Italy, where he founded Rome. It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as 'the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man'.

David West's acclaimed prose translation is accompanied by an updated introduction,
Including a new discussion of each of the twelve books of The Aeneid.

Publius Virgilius Maro (70-19 BC) studied rhetoric and philosophy in Rome where he became a court poet. As well as The Aeneid, his Eclogues and Georgics earned him the reputation as the finest Latin poet.

If you enjoyed The Aeneid, you might like Homer's The Iliad, also available in Penguin Classics.

'The most truthful translation ever, conveying as many nuances and whispers as are possible from the original'
The Times

'Sweet prose, clear and clean and dancing like a mountain stream, as here ... West opens the window and the winds bring life into Virgil's body'
Wall Street Journal

The Eclogues

Virgil (and others)

Haunting and enigmatic, Virgil's Eclogues combined a Greek literary form with scenes from contemporary Roman life to create a work that inspired a whole European tradition of pastoral poetry. For despite their rustic setting and the beauty of their phrasing, the poems in Virgil's first collection are also grounded in reality. Shepherds are overwhelmed by the torments of poetic love - but they must also endure such real-life events as the tragic consequences of Julius Caesar's murder in 44 bc and a civil war. In giving unforgettable expression to the disasters of the day through poetry, the Eclogues paved the way for the Georgics and the Aeneid, the two greatest works of Latin literature, and are also a major masterpiece in their own right.

The Georgics

Virgil (and others)

A eulogy to Italy as the temperate land of perpetual spring, and a celebration of the values of rustic piety, The Georgics is probably the supreme achievement of Latin poetry.

Biography

Robert Fagles was Athur W. Marks '19 Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He was the recipient of the 1997 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to which he was elected. Robert Fagles died in 2008.