Madness Unchained. A Reading of Virgil's 'Aeneid'.
Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield), Lanham (...), 2007. XIX,427p. Paperback. Tail spine a little bit bumped. With author's dedication on half title. ‘Fratantuono (F.) provides us with a book intended to be a comprehensive introduction to Vergil's Aeneid. F. directs his book towards any possible readers of Vergil: Latinists, Latin-less readers, high school students, undergraduates, graduates, professionals. At the same time, F. centers his argument around the assumption that Vergil's point in writing the Aeneid was to explore the role madness played in the national identity of the Romans. Generally speaking, F. achieves these goals as he leads the readers through Vergil's epic poem book by book and scene by scene. Thereby, F.'s book indeed provides us with an introduction to all the major aspects of the interpretation of the Aeneid. Indeed, there is something useful for everyone - however serious about reading the Aeneid or however advanced in Vergilian studies one might be - in this book, although I think that advanced undergraduates will profit most from it. And indeed, F.'s book will, of course, not fail to provoke resistance, because not every scholar (and maybe not every non-professional reader of the Aeneid as well) will be convinced that the role of madness for the Roman identity in fact was the main focus of Vergil's attention when he wrote the Aeneid. (…) In sum, F.'s observations lead us to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Vergil's text. (…) In general, one should also not fail to read the notes of the individual chapters. F. has made wonderful points and painstaking observations in them and presents the reader of his book with many beautiful and valuable gifts in these sections of his chapters which are not to be neglected. (…) F.'s book is a wonderful book, because with its well-versed learning in all aspects of Vergilian scholarship it inspires its readers to think independently. F. himself points out that readers of Vergil should read the Aeneid first. F.'s book, however, provides what according to the book's own title is ‘a’ reading of this epic poem along with much helpful background information. And exactly because this reading does not want to release us from our duty to read the Aeneid on our own, we are greatly helped and enabled to develop our own understanding of the Aeneid and to make our own conclusions.’ (WOLFGANG POLLEICHTNER in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.12.19). From the library of Professor Carl Deroux.