The aim of this important and still valuable book - first published in 1968 but never before available in paperback - is, quite simply, to help all who approach Virgil's Aeneid seriously, whether in the original Latin or in English translation, to read it with discernment and appreciation. It offers itself as neither a handbook nor a commentary, but as a critical description of the poem's structure and aspects of its composition. It begins with a preliminary exploration of the poem's central purpose; a careful reconstruction of its literary and historical context (following the battle of Actium in 31 BC which made Augustus Caesar master of the Roman world); and a description of the main outlines of its structure. At the book's core is a detailed analysis of each of the epic's twelve books, with particular emphasis on the later, less often read ones; and this is followed by two further chapters, one dealing with Virgil's use of form and some related theoretical problems, the other with a closer examination of the poem's verbal fabric.
Kenneth Quinn was a fellow of St John's College, Cambridge and later became Professor of Classics in the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is author of The Catullan Revolution (1959; repr. BCP, 1999), Latin Explorations (Routledge, 1963) and standard editions of Catullus' Poems (1970) and of Horace: Odes (1980).
Chapter 1: The Heroic Impulse Chapter 2: Genesis - I. What is the Aeneid about? II. The Task and its Problems III. The Problems Solved Chapter 3: Structure - I. General Description II. Structure of the Twelve Books III. The Episodes IV. Projection of the Narrator into his Narrative V. Parallel and Suspended Narrative VI. Tempo of the Narrative: Tenses Chapter 4: The Twelve Books Chapter 5: Form and Technique - Part 1: Form I. Not only Homer II. Difference in attitude between Virgil and Homer III. The Exploitation of Form IV. Impure Poetry Part 2: Technique I. Gods II. Characterization and Motivation III. Parallel Divine and Psychological Motivation IV. Fate Part 3: The Contribution of Tragedy I. Tragic Attitude II. Tragic Suspense III. Tragic Irony and Insight IV. Implicit Comment Chapter 6: Style - I. Words Alone II. Words in Action (i) The Tradition: (a) Ennius and the Old Poets (b) Catullus and the New Poets (c) A Common Style (ii) Innovation - callida iunctura. (a) Latent Metaphor; (b) Archaism brought about by Context; (c) Etymological Puns (iii) Ambiguity (iv) Syntactical Ambiguity III. The Virgilian Sentence (i) Metre; (ii) Theme and Variation (iii) Subordinate Clauses (iv) Imagery