A masterpiece from one of the greatest poets of the century
In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney's translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the significance of the poem to his writing, noting that there's one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas's venture into the underworld. The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years the golden bough, Charon's barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.
In this new translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and the sophisticated poetic voice that were on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of James Wood, created something imperishable and great that is stainless stainless, because its force as poetry makes it untouchable by the claw of literalism: it lives singly, as an English-language poem.
About the Author
Seamus Heaney (1939 2013) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His poems, plays, translations, and essays include Opened Ground, Electric Light, Beowulf, The Spirit Level, District and Circle, and Finders Keepers. Robert Lowell praised Heaney as the most important Irish poet since Yeats. "