Death of Virgil

( 1 )

Overview

It is the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and Publius Vergilius Maro, the poet of the Aeneid and Caesar's enchanter, has been summoned to the palace, where he will shortly die. Out of the last hours of Virgil's life and the final stirrings of his consciousness, the Austrian writer Hermann Broch fashioned one of the great works of twentieth-century modernism, a book that embraces an entire world and renders it with an immediacy that is at once sensual and profound. Begun while Broch was imprisoned in a German ...

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Death of Virgil

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Overview

It is the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and Publius Vergilius Maro, the poet of the Aeneid and Caesar's enchanter, has been summoned to the palace, where he will shortly die. Out of the last hours of Virgil's life and the final stirrings of his consciousness, the Austrian writer Hermann Broch fashioned one of the great works of twentieth-century modernism, a book that embraces an entire world and renders it with an immediacy that is at once sensual and profound. Begun while Broch was imprisoned in a German concentration camp, The Death of Virgil is part historical novel and part prose poem — and always an intensely musical and immensely evocative meditation on the relation between life and death, the ancient and the modern.

A lyrical prose poem rich in sensual imagery, this evocation of Virgil's final hours is a triumph of the poetic imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Broch is the greatest novelist European literature has produced since Joyce, and...The Death of Virgil represents the only genuine technical advance that fiction has made since Ulysses." — George Steiner

"Hermann Broch belongs in that tradition of great twentieth-century novelists who have transformed, almost beyond recognition, one of the classic art forms of the nineteenth century."

— Hannah Arendt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679755487
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage International ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 371,137
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Stunning work of literary genius beautifully translated

    This novel reads more like an epic poem than a novel, which is only right as the novel deals with the demise of the Aeneid's brilliant author. A sensitive and patient reader will be generously rewarded by the sheer poetry of the rich and meaningful language written by a first-rate, unheralded genius in Hermann Broch. One sees many shades of Aeneas in this tale about Virgil's trip to visit Caesar to present him the Aeneid. There is much in this tale about the challenges of writers to capture the true essence of life and the torment by Virgil about his inability to truly capture it in the Aeneid. Virgil is so tormented by the inadequacies he finds in his masterpiece that he threatens to burn the Aeneid but is forbidden by Augustus to do so. If it were not for Nora Barnacle, wife of James Joyce, much of that work of genius would have been lost to a fire from which in a bit of quick witted work she managed to retrieve it. Broch presents the rich, dense, intellectual sensibilities of Virgil with a style that will challenge and immensely satisfy readers of gorgeous literary novels. The innovative, prose style of Broch reminded me of Proust with some of the longest and most beautiful sentences that I have ever read. As beautifully as this book is written, the translation by Jean Starr Untermeyer utterly blew me away -- this is a highly nuanced and complex novel about poetic sensibilities which dive deep into the abyss and float high into the "second immensity" of the "cupola of the stars". Untermeyer provides full poetic justice in her translation to richly bring to life in English a truly memorable work and one of life's greatest literary treasures. Broch's novel ranks near the very top of the world's most masterfully articulated, literary novels and is truly worthy of the high critical acclaim it has received on this site by extremely bright readers. Seize the day: this novel is truly one of a kind --like the Aeneid, which so deeply inspired Broch, this novel is one for the ages.

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