The Development of Virgil's Art

The Development of Virgil's Art

The Development of Virgil's Art

The Development of Virgil's Art

Excerpt

A growing interest in the larger cultural aspects of antiquity has led to the production of many manuals and a multitude of translations from ancient authors. The Loeb series of translations would be even more useful if it were accompanied by interpretations of the various authors which indicated their place in the history of literature and in the development of literary types. In the present volume I have attempted this task for Virgil. I have also had in mind teachers and students of Virgil in our high schools and colleges to whom Virgil Aeneid is often too largely a means of learning the Latin language rather than a literary masterpiece worthy of their best appreciative power. For such an audience documentation and pretentious learning are out of place. And the size of the book has led to the omission of bibliography and erudite footnote, which more learned readers can easily supply from their own resources.

So far as any definite theses are involved, I am interested in presenting the Romans, like the Hellenistic Greeks, as adapting and continuing the literary forms of the Greeks of the Classical period, with obvious limitations in respect to originality. The development of Latin poetry is the story of a gradual emergence from the processes of translation and adaptation to a higher continuative process in which a certain kind and degree of originality are manifest. Individual Latin poets sometimes pass through this development as they mature in power. Virgil's development is the development of Latin poetry in miniature. And in Virgil's ultimate achievement there is something superior to the accomplishment of Hellenistic Greece. He organizes old material into an inimitable whole and completely Romanizes Greek stuff. He regu-

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