Posted: December 3rd, 2018 | No Comments »

we read the aeneid my senior year of high school, i don’t have 100% clear memories of it, besides thinking it a bit tedious, with devastating parts (like when aeneas leaves dido and she throws herself on a funeral pyre, OMG). anyway, this article, “Is the Aeneid a Celebration of Empire—or a Critique?”, is surprisingly great (a slow-starter with fire ending):

Months later, when I was back home teaching Greek and Roman classics again, it occurred to me that the difficulties we have with Aeneas and his epic cease to be difficulties once you think of him not as a hero but as a type we’re all too familiar with: a survivor, a person so fractured by the horrors of the past that he can hold himself together only by an unnatural effort of will, someone who has so little of his history left that the only thing that gets him through the present is a numbed sense of duty to a barely discernible future that can justify every kind of deprivation. It would be hard to think of a more modern figure.

Or, indeed, a more modern story.

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