To kick off my quest to read the classics, I have been slowly (and almost reluctantly) working my way through Virgil’s Aeneid. I should admit that I’ve read at least half of it before, for a class in which I was required to write a paper about Queen Dido. But that was over five years ago, so I figured I’d start the whole thing again, because I’d probably need a refresher.
The deal is, reading a book in order to write a paper about it and reading a book for the sake of reading it are two entirely different things. When I read the first time through, I underlined things fervently and wrote snarky notes in the margins. As I read now, I wonder why the hell I underlined those things and laugh to myself because snark aimed at the work of a long-dead Roman poet is really quite amusing. No, seriously. For example:
Oh! A big giant wooden horse! Let’s take it inside! No wonder your city was destroyed, you idiots.
I will have more to say about this horse thing when I get to the actual review, but for now, I thought I’d share some of the things I’m thinking about the book while I’m still reading (and therefore free of having to write about it productively or in paragraph form). Here goes:
— If one were to come to this book unaware of the fact that Aeneas is fated to get to Italy and daddy some babies who will eventually become the people known as Romans, then it wouldn’t take long to get it. Virgil lays it on really thick. To the point of being annoying.
— This Trojan horse business is seriously one of stupidest stories ever. Also, I think it’s interesting that we use the Trojan name to signify strength when really, the Trojans were the ones to get their asses kicked by the Greeks.
— I find it utterly hilarious that when recounting a memory, Aeneas is apparently able to remember the exact words of everyone, and can supposedly quote what a single person said to him years ago verbatim and for several pages. Seriously, I think he’s just making stuff up.
— Getting it on in a cave. That’s hot.
— Dido, listen to me, homegirl. Aeneas isn’t worth it. The gods are just messing with you. Buck up. Listen to some Gloria Gaynor, or something.
— Homer was so much more badass than Virgil.
— Why is this book a classic? Because it’s old and Virgil knew how to work the foreshadowing? I think this just proves that if you write something and it doesn’t end up thrown in a fireplace or get a lot of coffee stains on it or anything, it can be a revered classic, too. I mean, Virgil died before he finished editing the damn thing, so this isn’t even the final, good version!
So, these are some of the things I’ve been thinking about The Aeneid so far. I’m sure I’ll have more, but I’ll just work them into an actual review, written in paragraphs. This review should be coming soon, provided that I can make myself sit down for a few hours this weekend and get through the last few books. Stay tuned.