Tea & Tattle Podcast on Persephone Books & Readalong of New Translation of Virgil’s Classic

Do you love Persephone books?

I discovered them back in the zips, when Diana Birchall recommended Frances Hodgson Burnett’s adult novel, The Shuttle. In fact Diana recommended the book before Persephone published it.

I have read many Persephone titles since, and recently enjoyed a Tea and Tattle podcast in which  Sophie and Miranda discuss their favorite Persephone books.  The discussion is very calming:  I guarantee your blood pressure will go down!

WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN THE VIRGIL READALONG.  It may not sound sexy, but David Ferry’s new translation of Virgil’s Aeneid is so brilliant that Jen B. (an old friend from AOL) and I are organizing a Virgil readalong. Realistically, we hope that one,  or possibly two  may sign up to join us!   In January we will discuss Books 1, 2, 4, and 6, and in February discuss two or three of the last six books (to be announced).

WHY SHOULD YOU READ OR REREAD IT?  Virgil’s epic has awed and influenced generations of readers, including Dante, Christopher Marlowe, Milton, Purcell, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Willa Cather, T. S. Eliot, and Margaret Drabble.  Some read the Aeneid as a celebration of empire, others (myself included) as an anti-war poem.  Virgil treats love and war, the horrifying fall of Troy at the end of a 10-year war, the reluctance of the hero, Aeneas, to take charge of the survivors and try desperately to find them a homeland, his tragic love affair with the powerful queen Dido, and a long war in Italy fought so the Trojans can stay there (and eventually found Rome).

I’ll be reading the Latin along with the English.  It might be hard to get me to shut up about it.

JEN will not be reading the Latin.  You don’t have to read the Latin.

FUN FACT ABOUT THE AENEID.  Did you know that Venus wears purple (or crimson) buskins in Carthage?

So leave a comment or email me at mirabiledictu.org@gmail.com if you’d like to join us.

16 thoughts on “Tea & Tattle Podcast on Persephone Books & Readalong of New Translation of Virgil’s Classic

    • There are so many stunning Persephones, and The Home-maker was probably the first one I read. It was my real intro to Canfield Fisher, because I’d never been a fan of Understood Betsy. I loved this podcast!

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  1. Thanks for the podcast link! As for Virgil, I don’t know that I’ll be able to join in but I’ll certainly be following your progress with interest. As for reading in Latin – er, no. I did one year of it when I started Grammar School and all I can remember is Ecce Romana…..

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  2. Veni Vidi Vici. My two years of high school Latin would not be enough for Virgil. I did read the Aeneid in English a few years ago. I liked the first part, but not all the fighting in Italy. If I decide to join you, how can I be sure I have the correct translation?

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    • We’d love to have you if you decide to read with us. We won’t get to the war in Italy till February (and we’re reading only two or three of those books). We’re reading the new David Ferry translation, but honestly any translation will do. I’ve loved the Fagles, Rolfe Humphries, Alan Mandelbaum, but there are dozens, including Alexander Pope!

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      • Aw shucks! I’ll try to do some of the reading with you. I do like the classics — it was just all that bloody warfare at the end which was justified because it was necessary for the creation of Rome that got to me before. The warriors can always find some justification for what they do.

        I can’t find my print copy, but I just downloaded two versions from Project Gutenberg. I don’t know the translator until I open them in my Kindle, but I hope one of them will do. When do you start, and with what?

        How about we read some Euripedes some time?

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        • Nancy, the Project Gutenberg translations are often quite good! Those 19th-century & early-20th gentlemen knew their Latin. It should be great fun, and the serious war parts don’t start till the last 6 books. The first six are the equivalent of Homer’s Odyssey, and the second the equivalent of the Iliad. Virgil does homage to Homer…

          And I would be more than happy to read Euripides with you!

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