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Virgil's Georgics: ThoughtCast interviews the poet and translator David Ferry

From: Jenny Attiyeh
Length: 28:56

Virgil's Georgics: an interview with poet David Ferry, who recently translated Virgil's second great poem, The Georgics. We're joined by Virgil scholar Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard's Classics Dept. Read the full description.

Virgil_small The 17th century English poet John Dryden called Virgil's second poem, The Georgics, the "best poem by the best poet." If you don't read Latin, but want to know what all the fuss is about, tune in. Noted Cambridge poet David Ferry has recently translated Virgil's Georgics, and he joins Virgil scholar Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard's Classics Department, for a detailed examination of this beautiful and insufficiently known poem. It is said to have taken Virgil 7 years to write, from about 36 to 29 B.C. As such, the Georgics was written during a period of political instability and chronic civil war, and inevitably reflects Virgil's dark, often pessimistic outlook on human nature. But at the same time, The Georgics -- which means "agriculture" in Greek -- is a celebration of nature and its ceaseless beauty. As Virgil describes the cycles of crops, the seasons, the weather -- the birth, death and rebirth that mark the natural world -- he provides us with a complex, realistic, painful but enduringly uplifting poem.

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Piece Description

The 17th century English poet John Dryden called Virgil's second poem, The Georgics, the "best poem by the best poet." If you don't read Latin, but want to know what all the fuss is about, tune in. Noted Cambridge poet David Ferry has recently translated Virgil's Georgics, and he joins Virgil scholar Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard's Classics Department, for a detailed examination of this beautiful and insufficiently known poem. It is said to have taken Virgil 7 years to write, from about 36 to 29 B.C. As such, the Georgics was written during a period of political instability and chronic civil war, and inevitably reflects Virgil's dark, often pessimistic outlook on human nature. But at the same time, The Georgics -- which means "agriculture" in Greek -- is a celebration of nature and its ceaseless beauty. As Virgil describes the cycles of crops, the seasons, the weather -- the birth, death and rebirth that mark the natural world -- he provides us with a complex, realistic, painful but enduringly uplifting poem.

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Review of Virgil's Georgics: ThoughtCast interviews the poet and translator David Ferry

The poetry of the "dead language" deserves this resurrection. David Ferry's recent translation of Virgil's Georgics renews eternal themes of man's relationship to nature, as its lover, destroyer, kind master, and dependent child. The conversation moves from the earthy realism of the Georgics (Like Seamus Heaney, Virgil does dig dirt), to the violent historical milieu of Virgil's time, to deep symbolic and mythological resonances within the poems, and finally to the craftsmanship of Ferry's translation. The interview would be relevant to anyone interested in the study and discussion of poetry.

Broadcast History

To learn more about ThoughtCast, and my interview on Virgil's Georgics with David Ferry and Richard Thomas, feel free to access www.thoughtcast.org.

Timing and Cues

The interview is 29:30 long, and has a 30 second 'station identification' break located at 13:33. Feel free to replace it with your own!

Related Website

http://www.thoughtcast.org