Saturday, March 03, 2018

The Aeneid

Well, I made it. And it took me the first two months of the year, but it was probably the toughest read for me. I'm not very quick with epic poetry. I keep getting lost and having to backtrack or give up on following entirely. Especially during the battle parts (which was basically the last six books) I was pretty much like Alice reading Jabberwocky, "Well, somebody killed something, that's certain."

I did get a bit of an aha about why ancient poetry is so dang tedious, though. Even though the Aeneid was written, it still takes its form from the oral tradition. And if you really wanted to remember an important war and all the important generals and battles, without writing it down, you'd want to turn it into poetry. Now that we have catalogs and history books we can skip all the lists and focus on the action, but if we didn't no doubt we'd still be recounting the Civil War in a similar fashion.

The parts with the gods and goddesses interfering were more interesting. Basically it all came down to a feud between Juno and Venus; Venus who apparently was Aeneas' mother by a mortal, and Juno who favored Carthage and thus had it in for the Romans before they could even become Romans. (In one scene Venus gets her immortal husband, Vulcan, to make Aeneas special armor. It never explains how Vulcan came to be so chill with the situation, but I suppose they'd had a few decades to work it out and maybe he figured that it was part of the price of being married to the goddess of love. On the other hand, you never see Juno acting so calmly about Jove's sidelines.)

Really the interference of the deities was depressing. If they decide you need to do something, or die conveniently, or turn on your nearest and dearest, then do it you will, whether they have to resort to persuasion, trickery, or brute force.

In other reading, I also re-read the entire Anne series while sick with the flu. It was strange to revisit after quite a while. I don't think I'd read it since the children were tiny. It was a little depressing to realize that after a lifetime of expecting I would grow up to be Anne as a mother with a house as well-ordered and supportive as Ingleside, the best I could hope to emulate was the Merediths, domestic chaos and nearly absent parents with the kids mysteriously turning out pretty OK anyway.

Read The Clockwork Boys (it's by Ursula Vernon, but her adult novel pen name which I can't remember off the top of my head) and was very annoyed to realize Bookworm had tricked me into reading the first book when the sequels weren't out read. Read The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and liked it once I got into it. Feel like I read some other fun fantasy, but can't remember what right now.

Oh, and I got a whole lot of graphic novels for the kids that were new to us, most of which I didn't read because I find graphic novels hard to follow, but I also realized that there are two sequels to Hereville out now, and was very very happy to read those.

1 comment:

Diary of an Autodidact said...

Nice to have you back blogging about books. :)