Summary and Info
Peter Fallon's translation seems anything but stilted--earthy, colorful, rhythmical, it is sheer delight.
I wasn't sure at first whether a long didactic poem on agriculture would be gripping, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the "Georgics." Many of Virgil's images and descriptions of nature are meltingly beautiful, and the deeper philosophical stratum of this work produces a constant intellecutal tension--ultimately, this poem investigates to what extent "the good life" is possible in this world, what is the balance between good and evil, to what extent our good efforts and labors are rewarded, how we are to position ourselves spiritually in this ambiguous, hard-to-understand universe... From an ecological standpoint, Virgil examines how we are to relate and live in harmony with our environment. Many mythological stories are woven in, and Peter Fallon's notes help one understand historical and mythological allusions without any problem. The poem really is just brimming over with interesting content, and reading it to me felt like an utterly pleasurable meditative exercise. And I am truly grateful to Fallon for bringing this poem to me in a wonderfully "natural" and vivid translation, the best translation of the "Georgics" that I have been able to find.
I read the "Georgics" partly in order to understand Willa Cather's novels better, which allude to and are deeply influenced by this poem. Her works truly cannot be fully understood without a clear awareness of the Virgilian subtext. The "Georgics" are a supremely influential work of literature and should be read by anyone wishing to gain an in-depth understanding of the Western literary tradition.