[UCP Books]: The Aeneid of Virgil, translated by David Ferry

Our greatest living poet takes on the greatest of Western epic poems


"An outstanding achievement."

The Weekly Standard



The Aeneid of Virgil
Translated by David Ferry


Publication date: September 26, 2017  
International publication date: November 1, 2017 $35.00/£26.50



The Odyssey. The Iliad. The Aeneid. The three great founding epics of Western civilization. All are brilliant feats of storytelling, full of drama and action and unforgettable characters—and all are vigorously alive for readers today, in large part thanks to the great translators who have tackled them over the years.


The best of them, though—the most dramatic, the widest-ranging, the most powerfully perceptive about the desires and hopes and fears that have defined the human since the first poets sang—is the Aeneid. And now it has been translated by our very best living translator from Latin, poet David Ferry. Winner of the National Book Award in 2012 for his collection Bewilderment, Ferry has long been lauded for his translations, among them Virgil’s Eclogues—but it wasn’t until 2006, at the age of 82, that he embarked on the monumental task of translating Virgil’s greatest work.


Now we have that translation, and it is wonderful. Never before has Virgil’s verse been rendered so well into English, as Ferry’s supple lines bring to life both the Aeneid’s poetic language and its fast-paced storytelling. The depths of Dido’s despair, the cinematic depiction of the burning of Troy (which, thousands of years later, still chills us with the horrors of war) the descent to the underworld—all are given a new immediacy through Ferry’s lines.


A book like this comes along rarely in the life of a reader. This is an Aeneid our grandchildren will be reading.


David Ferry is the author of a number of books of poetry and has translated several works from classical languages. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998, won the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress in 2000, was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement in 2011, and won the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry for Bewilderment. His other translations include the Odes of Horace, the Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil, and the Epic of Gilgamesh.


Jonathan Silvertown is professor of evolutionary ecology in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author, most recently, of The Long and the Short of It: The Science of Life Span and Aging, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Please contact Nicholas Lilly at 773.702.7490 or nlilly@uchicago.edu for more information.



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