Contents Index


Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19 BCE) left only three works to posterity, but they became the models of their kinds, and their progression furnished as well the model for the way in which many poets conceived the development of their careers in later western culture. The ten Eclogues were seen as epitomizing youthful pastoral innocence. In his second work, the four-part Georgics, Virgil ostensibly wrote about how to manage a farm, but through this local concern runs the larger theme of mature governance of oneself and one's environment. His crowning achievement, the epic Aeneid, honors the founding of Rome as civilizing imperium.

Unlike most young women of her time, Mary Shelley was educated in Latin by her father. In her second novel, Valperga, she makes a knowing allusion to the Georgics. In Frankenstein she cites a famous line of the Aeneid: see 2.7.9 and note.