This colloquy will be a robust exploration of Vergil’s Aeneid, a Roman epic poem written in the late 1st century B.C.E. We will use Allan Mandelbaum’s translation, which is excellent, inexpensive, and widely available (Bantam Books, paperback).
For the first session, we’ll dive into the first 4 books (“chapters”) of the poem. Sessions 2 & 3 will continue our reading and discussion of the text alongside writings by other scholars including David Quint, Epic and Empire; and W. R. Johnson, Darkness Visible (PDFs to be distributed) In the fourth session, we will discuss an article by Richard Waswo, “The History that Literature Makes.” Waswo makes a fascinating argument for the power of literature to intervene in the world — instead of the familiar notion that “art imitates life,” Waswo is able to show how, in the case of the Aeneid, “life imitates art.”
Brendon Reay is a Classicist. He graduated from Reed College in 1987 with a B.A. in Classics, earned his M.A. in Latin at Bryn Mawr College in 1993, and his Ph.D. in Classical Studies from Stanford University in 1998.
Brendon has taught Greek and Latin language from beginning to advanced levels, and courses in Greek and Latin literature, history, and politics. His research has focused mainly on Roman agricultural literature and history, and ideas of Roman nationhood and selfhood. He and his family have lived in Blue Hill since 2018.
To become familiar with some basic background about The Aeneid, read the Wikipedia entries:
Session 1: Vergil’s Aeneid – Books 1-4
Session 2: Vergil’s Aeneid – Books 5-8; Selections from David Quint, Epic and Empire
Session 3: Vergil’s Aeneid – Books 9-12. Selections from W. R. Johnson, Darkness Visible
Session 4: Richard Waswo, “The History that Literature Makes.”
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