Leggere Virgilio – oggi?

I don’t usually repost Italian material on this blog, but Francesco’s piece below is too interesting not to acknowledge it. To the question, ‘Why would you read Virgil today?’, von Albrecht gives a number of convincing answers. First, he finds in Virgil a commentator of times not dissimilar from ours. Then, he points out the poet’s capacity for story-telling; language constitutes a third reason, and that is not something that only a Latinist can enjoy. Here I would add Alessandro Fo’s recent translation of the Aeneid into modern Italian hexameters which, if you speak the language, is a joy only surpassed by reading the Latin itself. Fourthly, he affirms Virgil’s personal anthropology, free from illusion and in constant dialogue with the political reality of the time; then, there’s the Mantuan’s mise-en-rapport of kinship and civic responsibility, pietas and fides; then, the poet’s relationship to history and the affirmation of a historical teleology, of an articulated vision which subsumes and orders disparate threads: turbulent waters all flowing towards a common and clear waterfall. Finally, Virgil is worth reading because he himself was a master reader. This mise-en-abîme underscores Virgil’s capacity to go beyond his sources, Homer in particular, to universalise history and to explain that mysterious coagulant that ties the citizen to the state.

Studia Humanitatis - παιδεία

di M. von Albrecht, Virgilio, Bucoliche – Georgiche – Eneide. Un’introduzione, trad. A. Setaioli, Milano, Vita&Pensiero, 2012, pp. vii-x.

Non pochi si sono chiesti se, dopo gli orrori e le disumane atrocità del XX secolo, fosse ancora possibile scrivere poesie. Anche all’epoca di Virgilio – un secolo di guerre civili e proscrizioni – l’uomo aveva commesso le più feroci crudeltà contro l’uomo. Si anelava alla pace e al recupero della perduta solidarietà tra concittadini. Oggi (almeno nel campo dell’economia) si parla di “globalizzazione”; allora i popoli del Mediterraneo avevano raggiunto un’unità anche politica in un impero universale. Con una serie fulminea di vittorie i Romani avevano unificato il mondo d’allora, ma gli avevano offerto un cattivo esempio con le loro discordie intestine. Seguendo il modello alessandrino, la poesia si era spesso ripiegata verso il privato, il soggettivo, l’erudito. Anche il cammino di Virgilio iniziò sotto questi auspici. Da un’opera…

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