Statius Achilleid

ISBN 13: 9781624664069

Achilleid

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"One of the most entertaining short narratives of all time, the Achilleid is a stand-alone work of compelling contemporary interest that moves with great rapidity and clarity. Its compact narrative, which encompasses a brutish childhood, an overprotective mother, temporary gender bending, sexual violence, and a final coming to manhood with the promise of future military prowess, may be unparalleled in a single narrative of such brevity. The text has survived in hundreds of manuscripts, sometimes copied with Statius’ much longer and lugubrious Thebaid, but just as often with other racy short narratives and dramas taught in the medieval schools. The poem’s literary playfulness, visual imagery, and lighthearted treatment of mythological and historical data made it—and can still make it—a goldmine in the classroom. Until now, however, it has been virtually impossible to get a sense of the work if one did not know Latin—recent translations notwithstanding. Stanley Lombardo's translation of the Achilleid is a dream: it’s sound, enthralling, and will fully engage readers with this enticing, perplexing, at times distressing, but ultimately rewarding work."
     —Marjorie Curry Woods, Blumberg Centennial Professor of English and University Distinguished Teaching Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

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About the Author:

Stanley Lombardo is Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Kansas.

Peter Heslin is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, Durham University.

Review:

"The Achilleid has been translated into English twice before in the last twenty years, but neither previous translation addressed the needs of the undergraduate or general reader. Lombardo has not only made the Achilleid truly accessible for the first time to the Latinless reader of English, but has also produced an elegant and witty English poem. . . . Even in this brief text (roughly one thousand lines), Lombardo has the opportunity to demonstrate impressive range. He misses none of Statius's jokes or witty formulations. Where appropriate, however, Lombardo can also offer a higher register that shows the epic's constant negotiation with its 'Very Serious' tradition."
—Neil Bernstein, Ohio University, in CJ-Online

"A sparkling translation of Statius' fragmentary gem . . . Lombardo plays in the space between Statius' terse, demanding style and the debatable gravity of his epic's tone and subject matter. He locates the Achilleid precisely where he should, in the beguiling presence of simultaneously conflicting and complementary forces. Lombardo's Achilleid is a welcome translation that makes the text available for regular classroom instruction. . . . This is the first stand-alone English translation to be published in recent history. This fact lends the book the sort of pedagogical flexibility that facilitates its inclusion on a syllabus and brings its price down substantially from the cost of its nearest competitor, Shackleton-Bailey's Loeb edition of Thebaid 8–12 and Achilleid 1–2."
     —Leo Landrey, Fordham University, in BMCR

"Lombardo's translation seems like a perfect addition to any reading course that covers the epic tradition, complicating in a compact manner issues such as heroism, masculinity, and sexual identity and offering a ready-made literary foil the Iliadic Achilles more familiar to our modern imagination.
   "[Heslin's Introduction] ensures that the accompanying poem cannot be read as an incomplete curiosity but rather as an interpretative challenge as worthy as any other in the Latin epic tradition."
—Patrick J. Burns, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, in Classical World

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