I, Virgil

by David Wishart | Children's Books |
ISBN: 0340628170 Global Overview for this book
Registered by giveusadrink on 7/30/2008
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by giveusadrink on Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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An imaginative imaginary autobiography, written in quite modern style. Poor Virgil is laden with a lot of traumatic experiences that made me think of him, especially at first, like the protagonist of some sordid coming-of-age novel. These are mostly inserted to account for passages from his works, and for his character, as far as we know it, but I would have preferred to read more about the actual composing. A good part of the book recounts the turbulent events of Virgil's time and Wishart is very opinionated about the personages involved. His Augustus is positively fiendish. Pompey and Cicero also come rather worse off. I liked his Horace very much though, and the description of the friendship between the two poets.

Off now to johnevelyn, its intended reader.

Journal Entry 2 by giveusadrink at Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Saturday, August 2, 2008

Released 13 yrs ago (7/31/2008 UTC) at Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom



sent to johnevelyn

Journal Entry 3 by johnevelyn from Lantau Island, Islands Hong Kong on Monday, August 11, 2008
This looks another wonderful Wishart book, sent by giveusadrink. I may well be like his portrayal of Cicero as I am increasingly a supporter of Catiline, who seems to have got such bad press.

March 2009: I enjoyed this fictional biography about the poet in a time of great change. The political pressures on Virgil are well described and like giveusadrink I really enjoyed the portrayal of Horace.

Journal Entry 4 by johnevelyn at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 10, 2009

Released 12 yrs ago (5/10/2009 UTC) at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom



Off by post to RonOren in the next few days

Journal Entry 5 by RonOren from Wandsworth, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Just arrived from johnevelyn in a trade for Ilium. Much as I'm interested in this, it'll have to go and live in Mt. TBR for a while, make friends with my other books. I will read and journal it eventually, but it may take quite a while...

Journal Entry 6 by RonOren at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I thought this was a brilliant book! I've never heard the theory that Virgil consciously "sabotaged" the Aeneid, but - after suspending my disbelief and taking the theor for granted - this is a very good, possible explanation why he would have done it.

The thing that struck me most about the book, is how similar it is to Robert Graves's I, Claudius. It's not just the name, but also the whole premise of the book and the style it's written in. In fact, I found Wishart's Virgil uncannily reminiscent of Graves's Claudius: both are shy, slight misfits, not quite happy with the political situation; yet both hide (voluntarily or not is unclear) a brilliant mind behind their duff exterior. I can't help wonder how much Wishart was influenced by Graves...

Still, a very enjoyable book for anyone who likes Roman history and has read Virgil (as we were forced to do in secondary school). Thanks for letting me read it, johnevelyn! I'll pass it on to DJgib; I'm sure she'll enjoy it as well.

Journal Entry 7 by DJgib at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Thursday, November 4, 2010
Travelled all the way across the living room to my shelf.

Journal Entry 8 by DJgib at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 20, 2013
There seems to be a never ending series of novels based on things that happened in ancient Rome, and if one is interested in ancient Rome these novels have a great part to play in making what can be a pretty bewildering series of events more accessible, as well as making the key players come to life. Having read a fair number though, I can't escape the feeling that some of these books would be a whole lot more interesting if they actually told a decent story. Real-life events can have the downside of not providing the idea narrative arc, and the result can be a little unsatisfying.

This particular book is a novelisation of Virgil's life, told in the form of a memoir. It is well written and clearly diligently researched, but the narrative structure means that whole years of (in)action are passed over without comment, and it is hard to get a sense of timescale. The climactic events build up so quickly that they seem to come out of nowhere, and I didn't feel that Wishart conveyed very well his theory of Virgil having sabotaged his own work to undermine Augustus. This requires an understanding of the use of symbology in classical poetry, which I don't have to a huge extent, and I didn't feel the book helped much. Therefore, I fear a lot of the intent of this book was lost on me.

Available until I get round to setting it free somewhere.

Released 8 yrs ago (8/27/2013 UTC) at OBCZ at the University Centre in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom


Left the book on the Bookshelf in the University Centre Grad Cafe.

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