Bernard Knox (1914–2010) was an English classicist. He was the first director of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. Among his many books are The Heroic Temper, The Oldest Dead White European Males, and Backing into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal. He is the editor of The Norton Book of Classical Literature and wrote the introductions and notes for Robert Fagles’s translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

IN THE REVIEW

The Wild Women of Greece

Gender and the City in Euripides' Political Plays

by Daniel Mendelsohn
When in the ninth century AD there was a revival of learning in Byzantium and a renewed interest in the ancient classics, some plays of the three great tragic poets of the fifth century BC were selected for transfer from their fragile, perishable papyrus rolls to sheets of durable vellum …

Love in Hell

Inferno

by Dante Alighieri, a verse translation from the Italianby Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander

Dante: A Life in Works

by Robert Hollander
This new version of Dante’s Inferno, by an internationally famous Dante scholar and his wife, the poet Jean Hollander, is accompanied by a detailed, brilliant commentary that is itself worth the price of the volume. The publisher’s claim on the dust cover—“The introduction, notes, and commentary on the poem cannot …

Liberating a Masterpiece

Jerusalem Delivered (Gerusalemme liberata)

Torquato Tasso, edited and translated from the Italian by Anthony M. Esolen
A first taste of Tasso’s great poem, completed in 1575, suggests that it is an exotic literary cocktail composed in Italian of equal portions of Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Homer’s Iliad, with a generous splash of Virgil’s Aeneid and a soupçon of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Partly an epic of the …

Stairway to Heaven

Purgatorio

by Dante Alighieri, translated by Merwin W.S.
When I met Robert Pinsky, at the first meeting of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, I congratulated him warmly on his splendid translation of the Inferno, which I had reviewed in these pages. I told him I looked forward with eager anticipation to his versions of the Purgatorio …

Virgil the Great

Virgil's Epic Designs: Ekphrasis in the Aeneid

by Michael C.J. Putnam

Virgil: His Life and Times

by Peter Levi
Virgil was a perfectionist. Among the few items in the highly unreliable biographical tradition that have a ring of truth are his remark that he created a poem like a she-bear, gradually licking it into shape, and the report that as he lay dying at Brindisi in 19 BC, he …

Genius Con Brio

The Charterhouse of Parma

by Stendhal, translated by Richard Howard
We know a great deal about Stendhal’s methods and habits as a writer, for he was an irrepressible diarist. He left not only journals that cover the first half of his life but also hundreds of notes and comments jotted down on manuscripts, on proofs, in the margins or on …