Medievalists have long been interested in the "abandoned woman," a figure historically used to examine the value of traditional male heroism. Moving beyond previous studies which have focused primarily on Virgil's Dido, Suzanne Hagedorn focuses on the vernacular works of Dante, Bocaccio, and Chaucer, arguing that revisiting the classical tradition of the abandoned woman enables one to reconsider ancient epics and myths from a female perspective and question assumptions about gender roles in medieval literature.
Virgil University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress PA6807.A5F47 2017 | Dewey Decimal 873.01
“I sing of arms and the man . . . ”
So begins the Aeneid, greatest of Western epic poems. Virgil’s story of the journey of Aeneas has been a part of our cultural heritage for so many centuries that it’s all too easy to lose sight of the poem itself—of its brilliantly cinematic depiction of the sack of Troy; the monstrous hunger of the harpies; the intensity of Dido’s love for the hero, and the blackness of her despair; and the violence that Aeneas and his men must endure before they can settle in Italy and build the civilization whose roots we still claim as our own.
This new translation brings Virgil’s masterpiece newly to life for English-language readers. It’s the first in centuries crafted by a translator who is first and foremost a poet, and it is a glorious thing. David Ferry has long been known as perhaps our greatest contemporary translator of Latin poetry, his translations of Virgil’s Eclogues and Georgics having established themselves as much-admired standards. He brings to the Aeneid the same genius, rendering Virgil’s formal metrical lines into an English that is familiar and alive. Yet in doing so, he surrenders none of the feel of the ancient world that resonates throughout the poem, and gives it the power that has drawn readers to it for centuries. In Ferry’s hands, the Aeneid becomes once more a lively, dramatic poem of daring and adventure, of love and loss, of devotion and death. Never before have Virgil’s twin gifts of poetic language and urgent, compelling storytelling been presented so powerfully for English-language readers. Ferry’s Aeneid will be a landmark, a gift to longtime lovers of Virgil, and the perfect entry point for new readers.
“Aurora rose, spreading her pitying light,
And with it bringing back to sight the labors
Of sad mortality, what men have done,
And what has been done to them; and what they must do
The ships are ready to sail. The journey, from the fall of Troy to the birth of Rome, is about to begin. Join us.
The Annotated Frankenstein
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PR5397.F7 2012c | Dewey Decimal 823.7
Published in 1818, Frankenstein has spellbound readers for generations and has inspired numerous retellings and sequels in every medium, making the myth familiar even to those who have never read a word of Mary Shelley’s novel. This freshly annotated, illustrated edition illuminates the novel and its electrifying afterlife.
Illustrated with many color images, The Annotated Wuthering Heights provides those encountering the novel for the first time, as well as those returning to it, with a wide array of contexts in which to read Emily Brontë’s romantic masterpiece, which has been called “the most beautiful, most profoundly violent love story of all time.”
The Athenaeum: A Novel
Raul Pompeia; Translated from the Portuguese by Renata R. M. Wasserman; Introduction by César Braga-Pinto Northwestern University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PQ9697.P655A813 2015 | Dewey Decimal 869.33
Originally published as O Ateneu in 1888, The Athenaeum is a classic of Brazilian literature, here translated into English in its entirety for the first time. The first-person narrator, Sergio, looks back to his time at the eponymous boarding school, with its autocratic principal and terrifying student body. Sergio’s account of his humiliating experiences as a student, with its frank discussion of corruption and homoerotic bullying, makes it clear that his school is structured and administered so as to reproduce the class divisions and power structure of the larger Brazilian society.
In its muckraking mode, the novel is in the spirit of Naturalism, imported from France and well-acclimated to Brazil, where it blossomed. At the same time, Pompéia maintains the novel’s credibility as a bildungsroman by portraying the narrator’s psychological development. The novel’s conclusion suggests both a doomed society and its possible redemption, indicative of a moment of upheaval and transition in Brazilian history.
A comic masterpiece of medieval French literature, Aucassin and Nicolette is categorized by its anonymous author as a “chantefable,” or “song-story,” and is the only known work of this kind. This edition includes the thirteenth-century French text and a modern English translation on facing pages. An introduction outlines the text’s background, genre, literary relations, historical contexts, major themes, and relevance to a contemporary audience. Its alternating sections of verse and prose recount a story of love between the aristocratic but distinctly unheroic young lord Aucassin and his beloved Nicolette. Despite familial disapproval, class and ethnic differences, imprisonment, and geographical separation, Nicolette’s single-minded pursuit of Aucassin raises interesting questions about gender roles and their depiction in the Middle Ages. The issue of identity is also addressed, as the identity of Nicolette shifts in terms of class, religion, and ethnicity: born a Muslim princess, she becomes both a slave and a Christian convert, and is eventually recaptured by her Saracen family, much to her displeasure. With its daring escapes, its descriptions of travel to exotic lands, its separations, and its happy reunions, Aucassin and Nicolette is both a classic romantic comedy and an entertaining parody of the romance genre.