Books September 2011
A review of C. S. Lewis's Lost Aeneid: Arms and the Exile by C. S. Lewis.
This book is of more value than meets the eye—but first some perspective. Fewer than sixty of its 220 pages carry C. S. Lewis’s translation of the Aeneid, with a commensurate number carrying the original text from the Loeb edition (not Lewis’ primary text). Whereas we have all that Lewis translated of the epic, we have only 15 percent of the twelve books of the poem itself: all of Book I, much of Book II, about half of Book VI, and snippets thereafter (including prose summaries by Lewis). So even though he was at work on this translation for half his life, until his death in 1963, the work is both abbreviated and unfinished.
Machinery includes a foreword, a preface, and the editor’s introduction (as well as manuscript pages, maps of Aeneas’s journeys, a convenient glossary, and a name index). The first, by Walter Hooper (Lewis’ renowned steward and editor), describes the provenance of the...
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