Monday, September 29, 2003

Virgil Lives!

"EVE ADLER, a classicist at Middlebury College in Vermont, may have just changed all Virgil's post-Renaissance diminished position in literature with her new book, 'Vergil's Empire: Political Thought in the Aeneid.' After this analysis, it will be difficult to think of Virgil merely as a gifted imitator of Homer. If Adler is right, Virgil had ambitions at least as grand as his Greek predecessor--and with good reason."

"'Vergil's Empire' draws heavily on Leo Strauss for the political analysis of the 'Aeneid.' Something of a secret teaching may be glimpsed behind the imperial screen, she argues, which emerges most clearly near the center of the text, where Aeneas' descent into the underworld signals the shift from wandering to battles. But her sensitive and penetrating reading of many passages in the 'Aeneid' does not reduce Virgil to a Procrustean bed of Straussian proportions. This book is stunningly original. Indeed, Adler's account of Virgil's views on universal empire has urgency not only for literary studies but for our reflections on empire in the current global situation.
Adler believes that Virgil is powerfully grappling not only with Homer, but with Lucretius, his Latin predecessor in the first century B.C"
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