"In truth he gave me nothing but a name, and I have filled it with myself. Yet without him would I even have a name? I have never blamed him. Even a poet cannot get everything right."
If you were looking for a quote do describe the central concern of this book, the above might do it.
I was deeply moved by this book and the tale it weaves and the respect with which it treats its characters and subjects like love, fate, and the power of stories. I love its intertextuality and how much it is in conversation with its source text (and other works) and how vividly a picture it painted of preRoman Italy. (Le Guin, unsurprisingly, really did her research and brought it to bear masterfully.)
I thought this might be a 5star read in the beginning, but there was a part in the middle that made me tend towards 4 stars. And then the ending once again pushed it back up to 5 stars. It's interesting to contrast this with Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad. Both explore one of the Big Classics (The Aeneid in LeGuin's case, the Odyssey in Atwood's) from a female character's perspective. LeGuin and Atwood are both stellar writers, but I enjoyed Lavinia vastly more. LeGuin seems to have a real affection for her characters, and that makes for a warmer, more humane book.
You can't tackle such a project without exploring the constraints placed on women in ancient times, but again, the authors take two very different approaches. Atwood focuses on the oppression of women, but LeGuin (who has always shown an appreciation for the beauties of everyday life) convincingly explores how women could find fulfillment and power within the roles allowed them. #BOOK ´ Lavinia Î Lavinia Acheter Vins En Ligne, Ventes Prives De VinsMeilleur Site De Vente De Vin , LAVINIA Est Le Caviste De Rfrence Avec Une Slection Devins, Champagnes, Spiritueux Et Accessoires Tout Au Long De L Anne, De Nouvelles Cuves Exclusives Sont Slectionnes Avec Soin Par Le Comit De Dgustation Lavinia WikipdiaLavinia Acheter Vins En Ligne, Ventes Prives De VinsA Propos De Lavinia Concept Degustations Restaurants Entreprises FAQ ContactCrer Un Compte Se Connecter Bonjour Currentusername Mon Compte Dconnexion Lavinia Buy Wine Online Welcome To Lavinia Find The Widest Wine Selection In Europe From Spain, France And Other Countries Delivery Direct To Your Door Lavinia ParisCe Qu Il Faut Savoir Pour VotreLavinia, C Est Un Espace Immense Consacr Ce Produit Bien De Chez Nous Qu Est Le Vin Toutefois, La Quantit Et La Varit Est Telle Qu On Y Trouve Des Vins De Toutes Origines, Et Pour Tous Les Prix Lavinia Roman Wikipdia Le Parisien
“I am not the feminine voice you may have expected”
When my father told me that Ursula LeGuin had put out a new novel, I was, as I usually am, ecstatic. LeGuin is one of my all time favorite authors, and I can’t think of time when she’s written something that has somehow failed to engage, entertain, or intrigue me. The fact that she was, apparently, riffing off Virgil’s Aeneid was just icing on the cake for this poor excuse for a classical studies major.
When the book arrived, I found myself looking at the cover and suddenly wondering what the heck this book was about. As much as I tried, I could not remember the character of Lavinia from my previous readings of the Aeneid in the slightest (the best I could do was to temporarily confuse her with Dido). My guilt at my poor powers of memory was a bit assuaged when, after some checking, I realized that Lavinia only barely appears within the Aeneid, and never speaks at all. It’s no surprise I don’t remember her. Indeed, it’s a wonder that many people do.
The notion of taking an old story and telling a different side of it is a popular one these days, and I confess I’m not terribly up on the subgenre (which seems to include things like The Red Tent, Mists of Avalon, and Lady Macbeth, among others), so I can’t compare it fairly to other authors efforts. It is a subgenre that seems potentially filled with a lot of anger; how easy would it be for Lavinia (or any of these voiceless women) to rage against the world that so long ignored them? How simple would it be to tell a story about how the men screwed everything up, and the women were doing everything right?
Easy though it might be, LeGuin doesn’t do anything of the kind. Her Lavinia (who is curiously aware of her metafictional existence) is very, well, ancient Roman. She is strong, but conscious of her duty. She has a strong sense of the importance of family. She genuinely loves Aeneas, and her insights into Aeneas are interesting, and very much in line with what I remember of the Aeneid (which I confess is precious little). The entire story is told by Lavinia herself, a decision that allows LeGuin to really get into her protagonists mind, and produce a very different, interesting, and very real vision of a part of the Aeneid that Virgil did not get to.
I think that is the thing that makes me enjoy Lavinia so much; it is LeGuin’s addition to the myth. Not a refutation, or an attack, but merely another side of part of the story. A side as compelling, powerful, and insightful as the original itself. Unquestionably worth the read.
Next time: I have no idea. Not really sure what to read next, though I’m tempted to read the Aeneid again. I’ll have to go scan the shelves.
"Oh, never and forever aren't for mortals, love."
Le Guin writes wonderful women and stories that honor them. Lavinia is a whole book written from the perspective of a character that never utters a word in Vergil's epic, The Aeneid. It tells of all the life that happens between "the glorious battles", the farming, the herding, hunting and reading of the auspices, caring for the hearth gods, weaving, songs and observancesthe reasons we war in the first place.
I think if you have lost a great happiness and try to recall it, you're only asking for sorrow, but if you do not try to dwell on the happiness, sometimes you find it dwelling in your heart and body, silent but sustaining.
Lavinia is presented as an ideal female: a faithful daughter, dedicated wife, and strong mother. The transitions between those phases is beautifully narrated. I especially found the duties depicted, the rituals so natural and comforting. I was wondering how I managed not to have any knowledge of Latium, honestly, I was disappointed in myself, and was relieved to read in the Afterword that there is indeed little to no record of the original Latins. Etruscans, yes and Magna Graecia too, of which I have some understanding. The auspices were rightfully given to an Etruscan character to read, but believably Latinus, Lavinia's father received omens from his forefathers in the sacred places. Overall, it was a delightfully woven tale of life in preancient Rome. Back when I studied Latin, we were given bits of Virgil's "Aeneid" to translate. I always found it to be a chore, as poetry is more challenging to translate than textbook translating exercises like "Roma est in Italia." Still, I thought I knew the piece sufficiently until hearing that Ursula Le Guin had written a book about a character from "Aeneid" but having no idea who Lavinia was. Having now read "Aeneid" in its translated entirety, I can't really fault myself for not remembering Lavinia. She has no spoken lines, no characterization, and her function in the story is simply to be the prize of quarreling factions. In other words, hers was a story that benefited greatly from being told with care and respect.
Part of the brilliance in Le Guin's book lies in her ability to seamlessly weave a rich and detailed story for Lavinia in the greater fabric of Virgil's epic. Le Guin makes the strange world of Bronze Age Italy a place one can feel and taste, a place where the influence of oracles and gods is clearly felt. She eschews Virgil's humanlike gods for dead that speak through sacred places, which allows for the wellexecuted metaconceit of having a dying Virgil learn how egregiously he mistreated Lavinia in his unfinished masterpiece, which Le Guin suggests as a fanciful reason for Virgil's request that the incomplete "Aeneid" be burned upon his death. She takes no liberties with "Aeneid" as it stands the story is familiar from the point that Aeneas enters the scene to the time that Turnus departs it. As delightful as it is to see Virgil's epic through an Italian princess's more frank and sensible perspective, it's a tragic and brief part of Lavinia's story, both as a person and as a character in a seemingly immortal piece of literature.
In her notes, Le Guin laments that "Aeneid" is rarely taught in its entirety or original language nowadays. Her book is an eloquent and compelling tribute to Virgil and a gentle reminder to the world's readers that the ancient stories are well worth reading. I highly recommend this story to anyone looking for an impetus to revisit early masterpieces of western literature as well as those who enjoy thoughtful historical fiction. I think I'm incapable of disliking a Le Guin book. So, 5 stars it is.
I'm not a huge fan of the retelling of mythological stories and the like from the stand point of a woman. But this was written by Le Guin and here I am. I have had this on my shelf since shortly after it was written. I bought it in hardcover in Missoula, where my brother lives. But the real reason that I've waited so long to read it is because I only discovered UKL in my early to mid twenties. Back then she was already 60something and after I devoured quite a lot of her core oeuvre, I realized that if I read all of it, I may have quite a lot of my own life during which I wouldn't have a "new' Le Guin to read. So, I've been "hoarding" her books for the past 1520 years. Now I only have 2 more novels to read, plus a couple short story collections, her older poetry collections and most of her nonfiction. So, what does this have to do with this book? Not much, I suppose, but it may explain my unmitigated love for this book. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And reconnecting with Le Guin's writing made my heart sing.
The story itself follows Virgil's Aeneid, but only the part when he lands in Italy nearish Rome and settles there, fights a war, and marries a Latin girl named Lavinia. The story is told from Lavinia's perspective. and the conceit that she is someone the Poet created and to whom he gave very little time in the Aeneid. She is selfaware which makes for an interesting twist in the story. She's filling in the details, the structure and what Aeneas does are all set. The beginning and the end, before and after Aeneas are perhaps the most interesting parts for me, but I enjoyed the middle just as well.
That this book is soooo good is no surprise to me. She could've written a grocery list and I'd love it, but I do wonder why this didn't get many awards? Just the Locus award, as far as I can tell.
I read the Aeneid in high school, the whole thing in English and about half of it in Latin (skipping around for the best bits, or course), and I was a huge pain in the ass. I was convinced that Aeneas was a douche, that Creusa got screwed over, that Dido got royally screwed over and should have ripped Aeneas's balls off, and that Lavinia was a breed sow with pretty hair. My poor teacher tried again and again to calm me down, to remind me of the historical context and cultural differences that should have been informing my reading of the poem, to point out the elegance of the scansion or the cleverness of various poetic devices, but I just didn't buy it. I absorbed enough to ace the AP test, but the Aeneid left a bad taste in my mouth. When I got to college and read the Greek epics I was a bit better at detaching myself from the content of the poems so that I could appreciate their language and structure, but I still had to work hard to keep a lid on my roiling feminist ire. My biggest flaw as a historian, the reason why I decided to teach Latin to middle schoolers instead of going to graduate school, is that I get too emotionally invested in whatever I am studying, and am unable to confine my judgments to the appropriate historical context. I may acknowledge the fact that Aeneas was the model of pietas for his time and place, but in the here and now he'd be a douche, and I just can't forget that.
This is why Lavinia is such a wonderful book. Le Guin does that forgetting for me. She is able to immerse herself in a different time and place and culture in a way that is judgmentfree, and she sells this world in such a way that I buy it. And like it. And enjoy it. The angry feminist pot ceases to boil. I actually like this Aeneas. He seems to be a nice guy. I really like and identify with this Lavinia, and I support her choices, whereas in the Aeneid I simply pitied her for not having any choices. I understand and appreciate a concept of pietas that is completely different from the kind of piety or rightness I seek in my own life, in a way that I was never able to understand it when I was reading the actual Aeneid. Part of what makes this novel work for me is the way she strips the story of Aeneas of its Augustan influencesVergil originally wrote the poem as a propaganda piece for the emperor (okay, maybe that wasn't his only purpose, but he had to throw it in there to keep the people in charge happy), and the ostentatious wealth and fantastical religion it promotes help divorce it from reality and make it harder to relate to. Le Guin's simpler version feels much more authentic and relatable.
I did find the book a little hard to get into, and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the relationship between Lavinia and Vergil. But overall, I found it an extremely enjoyable and readable story that left me with warm fuzzies inside. It may actually motivate me to reread the Latin Aeneid sometime soonish (if I can find my old book), and to not be full of fiery rage when I do. That's a good thing, right? DNF at page 180
I’m sad, I thought I’d love this but there doesn’t seem to be anything different in here than is in The Aeneid. It’s just from Lavinia’s perspective but all the events are the same, and I’m bored 😑