The Aeneid is the great national epic of ancient Rome, and one of the most important works of literature ever written. And with Professor Vandiver's twelve instructive lectures, you'll enter fully into the gripping tale that Virgil tells. Join Aeneas on his long journey west from ruined Troy to the founding of a new nation in Italy, and see how he weaves a rich network of compelling human themes. Your encounter with the Aeneid focuses on careful, detailed examinations of the epic's background, main themes, and significant episodes. You'll get a helpful introduction to Virgil's Latin epic and the mythic and literary background with which Virgil was working (including an insightful summary of the legends of the Trojan War and of Romulus and Remus). From there, you'll dive into the poem itself with lectures that, in their clarity, economy, and enthusiasm, you're sure to find illuminating and thoroughly engaging.
Throughout it all, the figure of Aeneas is never far from center stage- as fighter and lover, father and son, refugee and ruler, wanderer and founder, spellbinding storyteller, and sword-wielding man of action.
Whether you read the narrative of his adventures as a paean to the glories of Rome or a cautionary tale about the human costs of empire, by the end of these lectures you'll come to understand precisely why Tennyson called Virgil a lord of language, and lauded his special gift for golden phrase.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses
Prof Vandiver is amazing. She is obviously very enthusiastic about the material and she takes her audience on a journey. I very much enjoyed listening to this course and I'd consider it as a preparation for actually reading this classic work, which otherwise I might have found inaccessible. As others have pointed out, she does spend a lot of time summarising the plot although before beginning the lecture proper, she spends a couple of lectures on the historical background. She also draws attention to important themes and controversial questions and the last two chapters are devoted to such a discussion.
So to summarise, if you have already read the Aeneid, you could miss this course without missing much. If you intend to read or listen to the epic, then these lectures would be very helpful for understanding the plot as well as appreciating the subtleties.
• A great summary of every book of the Aeneid
• The analysis on the ending to the book was engaging
• The professor was easy to listen to (almost every sentence was easy to understand and there was an avoidance of flowery language that makes understanding difficult)
• The professor tended to explain the same point multiple times and seemed to repeat sentences (the point could’ve been made in less sentences)
• A little more literary analysis on the book rather than plot summaries would’ve been a nice touch
I must say that, having listened to Dr Vandiver's lectures on the Iliad and the Odyssey, the second part of the ones on the Aeinid became a little more cumbersome. In any case, a very compelling lecturer, for which I very much recommend this.
This is a well-organized digest of the story, with historical and literary background, biographical ìnformation on the author, major literary elements, and an outline of the historical as well diverging contemporary criticism of the Aeneid, by Vergil. Professor Vandiver does a nice job. Wish there was more...
As another reviewer commented, the author focuses most attention on summarizing the plot, chapter by chapter. I listened to these lectures while I read the Fagles translation. I was able to follow the plot in the text. I was hoping the lecture would provide more in depth background material. But while not perfect, the combination of Fagles plus this lecture was good.
The subject matter was great but the level is basic and the teacher repeated herself often. It is the equivalent of a high school discussion, not college. However, good context on the subject was provided.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
I bought the Aeneid reasd by Fredrick Davidson a while ago and though this might be a good go with to learn some interesting facts and look at the text critically.
Prof. Vandiver clearly has a problem - she must have been told by Great Course (similar to first students) there was no reason to believe people taking the course would (or had) read the book. A great deal of the course is therefore a summary of the event in the book. You could pretty much skip most of the book and understand what going on. Which is a shame because clearly when she REALLY talking as a professor the course she is basing this on is a comparison of Homer and Virgil. The course that she pull from sounds interesting and in gauging but you don't get much.
"Excellent and lucid series of lectures "
Whether you are about to read or have read the Aeneid, Vandiver's accessible and scholarly lectures really bring out Virgil's epic.
Her delivery is measured with light humour and an excellent reading voice.
These lectures have made me re-read the Aeneid and I have done so with added pleasure.
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