Vergil’s Aeneid has been considered a classic, if not the classic, of Western literature for two thousand years. In recent decades this famous poem has become the subject of fresh and searching controversy. What is the poem’s fundamental meaning? Does it endorse or undermine values of empire and patriarchy? Is its world view comic or tragic? Many studies of the poem have focused primarily on selected books. The approach here is comprehensive.
An introduction by editor Christine Perkell discusses the poem’s historical background, its reception from antiquity to the present, and its most important themes. The book-by-book readings that follow both explicate the text and offer a variety of interpretations.