Thursday, September 05, 2013

Horace And Me


Horace And Me:

Life Lessons From An Ancient Poet

By Harry Eyres

Published by Bloomsbury, July 2013.



 Horace, the quintessentially Roman poet who wrote so beautifully about life and was quoted so extensively until relatively recent times, may nowadays be unknown to almost everyone who has not studied Roman literature. What on earth might Horace, writing over two thousand years ago, have to say which is of any use or importance to us now?

Born the son of a freed slave, Horace rose to fame for his writings and had friendships which gave him political influence at the highest level, yet he was always very  open about his humble background and was anxious to avoid compromising his values and principles. Despite one of his most famous lines "Dulce et decorum est prop patria mori"  being savaged by Wilfred Owens' famous war poem, Horace is still surprisingly relevant to the modern world.

Harry Eyres has freshly translated Horace's works in what he self-deprecatingly calls a version rather than a word for word translation, and then provided an insightful and very thoughtful  running commentary combining autobiographical anecdotes, extensive discussion and references to ancient and modern authors based around a variety of thematic chapters covering all the important topics of life:  freedom (emotional, social and political), wine, entertainment, religion and morality, friendship, love , family and much more.

 This is an immensely clever and  eminently accessible book which I can heartily recommend!


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