C. S. Lewis's Lost Aeneid: Arms and the Exile
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) is best remembered as a literary critic, essayist, theologian, and novelist, and his famed tales The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters have been read by millions. Now, A. T. Reyes reveals a different side of this diverse man of letters: translator.
Reyes introduces the surviving fragments of Lewis's translation of Virgil's epic poem, which were rescued from a bonfire. They are presented in parallel with the Latin text, and are accompanied by synopses of missing sections, and an informative glossary, making them accessible to the general reader. Writes Lewis in A Preface to Paradise Lost, "Virgil uses something more subtle than mere length of time.... It is this which gives the reader of the Aeneid the sense of having lived through so much. No man who has read it with full perception remains an adolescent." Lewis's admiration for the Aeneid, written in the 1st century BC and unfolding the adventures of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of the Romans, is evident in his remarkably lyrical translation.
C. S. Lewis's Lost Aeneid is part detective story, as Reyes recounts the dramatic rescue of the fragments and his efforts to collect and organize them, and part illuminating look at a lesser-known and intriguing aspect of Lewis's work.
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