One of the things I love best about my job at the Chronicle is getting to do stuff like talk to people who spend their days wrestling Latin dactylic hexameters into English. A poet and classicist named Sarah Ruden has just published what appears to be the first major translation of Virgil’s Aeneid by a woman. Her version, put out by Yale University Press, is the fourth new translation of the martial epic in three years, and there are at least two more in the works (one by another woman, Jane W. Joyce, and one by David Ferry, whose translations of Horace’s odes are sheer poetry, in every sense).
Why so many Aeneids, and why now? And why have women steered clear of epic? Read on.