Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Description of C.S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid

I just received a copy in yesterday’s mail and thought I would offer some description of the book as a public service to those considering ordering it (Amazon link immediately following, where it is currently on sale at a 40% discount):

C.S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid: Arms and the Exile. Edited with an introduction by A.T. Reyes. Foreword by Walter Hooper. Preface by D.O. Ross. New Haven , London: Yale UP, 2011. xxiii + 208 pp. ISBN 9780300167177.

It’s an attractive and well-made book. Hardcover, octavo, black cloth boards, spine stamped in gold. The dust jacket is illustrated on the front with The Feast of Aeneas and Dido, folio 100v of the 5th-century Roman Virgil, MS Vat. Lat. 3867, Vatican Library; on the back with Lewis manuscript translation, Book I, ll. 1–11. Inside, five pages of Lewis’s manuscript are reproduced.

Following is the complete table of contents:
  • List of Authors
  • Acknowledgements
  • Maps
  • Foreword by Walter Hooper
  • Preface by D.O. Ross
  • Introduction
  • C.S. Lewis’s Translation of the Aeneid with the Latin text
  • Additional References to the Aeneid
  • Notes on the Manuscript
  • Some Discrepancies between the Latin and English Texts
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index of Names
  • General Index
The “List of Authors” is one page with biographical blurbs of Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis, A.T. Reyes, D.O. Ross, and Virgil, in that order. There are three maps: 1. Europe and the Mediterranean, 2. Italy , Greece , and Asia Minor, and 3. Area around Rome . The Foreword is 5 pp., the Preface is 7 pp., the Introduction is 33 pp., and all three include footnotes.

The translation is the whole of Book I (758 ll., in Lewis’s rendition), and large portions of Books II and VI (516 and 253 ll., respectively). What is very nice here is that for others of the books of the Aeneid, the editor has brought together various fragments translated by Lewis in others of his works, e.g., A Preface to Paradise Lost, Studies in Words, The Pilgrim’s Regress, The Problem of Pain, and others. The translation is printed on the recto with the Latin on the facing verso. The Latin text is reprinted from Virgil, Volume I. Loeb Classical Library, Volume 63. Trans. H.R. Fairclough, rev. G.P. Goold. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1999 [originally 1916].

“Additional References to the Aeneid” offers seven pages of references (not translation) in Lewis’s other writings, arranged by the books of the Aeneid. “Notes on the Manuscript” is a four-page list of changes, cancellations, and other emendations Lewis made to the main manuscript. The “Notes on the Latin Text and Lewis’s Translation” (so called, in spite of the table of contents), a single page, lists departures from standard readings in Lewis’s own reading of the Latin (errors, perhaps, or merely disagreements with the Latin; it’s not clear to me on quick inspection). The remaining items are all short and self-explanatory.

I am planning to run a review, as well as an interview with the editor, in the May issue of Mythprint. It looks like a splendid piece of work with first-rate editorial apparatus. I am looking forward to digging in!

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