In a momentous booklet, Seamus Heaney's translation of e-book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed someday among 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a ebook of interviews carried out by means of Dennis O'Driscoll, Heaney said the significance of the poem to his writing, noting that 'there's one Virgilian trip that has certainly been a relentless presence, and that's Aeneas's enterprise into the underworld. The motifs in e-book VI were in my head for years - the golden bough, Charon's barge, the hunt to satisfy the color of the father.'
In this new translation, Heaney employs a similar deft dealing with of the unique mixed with the immediacy of language and wonderful poetic voice as was once on exhibit in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, within the phrases of Bernard O'Donoghue, introduced the traditional poem again to existence in 'a astounding mixture of the poem's unique spirit and Heaney's voice'.
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Extra info for Aeneid: Book VI
He had hoped for fusion of this kind in its successor, but his final effort left him disappointed. Yet as Bernard Crick notes, Orwell’s discontent was chronic; Animal Farm alone met his high standards (GO, 384). 5 Wretched health increased the burden of revision. He had to rush the last draft. He could not get a typist, so he did it in his bedroom over two or three weeks, fighting weakness and the constant threat of relapse. But if tuberculosis sapped his physical strength, it did not impair the vigor of his narrative.
But before going further, I want briefly to consider what he meant when he talked about artistry. Before he finished his first novel, Burmese Days, he spelled out what he thought a novel ought to do. ” The second was “to make a kind of pattern or design,” as distinct from merely turning out a story. 7 In the fifteen years between that book and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell revised his priorities. The age, he felt, did not permit a leisurely pursuit of art; politics had to be paramount. Increasingly, he wrote to give insight into power, to examine political corruption.
5 Wretched health increased the burden of revision. He had to rush the last draft. He could not get a typist, so he did it in his bedroom over two or three weeks, fighting weakness and the constant threat of relapse. But if tuberculosis sapped his physical strength, it did not impair the vigor of his narrative. The adjectives repeatedly invoked to describe the book—“urgent,” “haunting,” “terrifying,” “brilliant”—attest to its continuing power. Does its power stem from the fusion Orwell thought he had failed to achieve, or is it powerful despite flawed execution?