Virgil and the Moderns

Virgil and the Moderns

by Theodore Ziolkowski
     
 

Virgil has permeated modern culture like no other icon of Western civilization. In the United States, for example, three of his phrases appear on the dollar bill, and his Aeneid was often cited as a model for the nation's westward expansion. Theodore Ziolkowski traces the impact of the Roman poet into the twentieth century, showing how the Aeneid, the

See more details below

Overview

Virgil has permeated modern culture like no other icon of Western civilization. In the United States, for example, three of his phrases appear on the dollar bill, and his Aeneid was often cited as a model for the nation's westward expansion. Theodore Ziolkowski traces the impact of the Roman poet into the twentieth century, showing how the Aeneid, the Eclogues, and the Georgics supplied the patterns, images, values, and often the very words used in key works of modern literature. Focusing on American and European writing produced between 1914 and 1945--when Virgil figured prominently in works by Auden, Broch, Eliot, Frost, and Gide, and by Tate, Ungaretti, Valéry, and Wilder--this comparative analysis reveals a major cultural period in a fascinating new light.

Ziolkowski argues that after World War I people came to understand Virgil in a new way: exposed to the rhetoric of totalitarian dictators, and having experienced social upheaval and economic disaster, they recognized in his poetry similar stresses and noted in it a dark aspect not received by earlier generations. Exploring a wide range of modern works, the author demonstrates how preferences for Virgil's poems varied significantly among countries and individuals and how these texts provided a mirror in which readers found what they wished: populism or elitism, fascism or democracy, commitment or escapism. In his closing thoughts, Ziolkowski addresses the current decline of classical learning in the United States and encourages us to reclaim Virgil as an invaluable cultural possession.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Virgil and the Moderns is a wonderful book. Everyone interested in modern literature and the western cultural heritage should read it. Ziolkowski does much more than tell us about Virgil and his influence on modern authors and readers. . . . His book is a veritable education in modern literature and cultural history. . . . Ziolkowski is a treasure, and he has given us a rare treat in this very thoughtful study of the way our cultural inheritance is passed on and reaffirmed."--Michael L. Hall, Philosophy and Literature

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691032481
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/23/1993
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.57(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >