This weekend my wife and I had the privilege of hearing Stanley Lombardo speak at the Kansas City Literary Festival. Many of you probably know of his modern translations of Homer, Virgil, and other ancient poets. He is now working on a translation of Dante's Inferno.
Prof. Lombardo spoke of his love of the classics primarily for their poetry. He praised scholarship, but said he first loved these poems for how they existed as art. During his talk he quoted extracts from the Odyssey in Greek, and from the Aeneid in Latin.
Finally, he read his English translation of the scene in the Aeneid where Aeneas meets Dido in the underworld. Lombardo works to make his translations true reading versions and he nearly broke everyone's heart in the audience as he read in his low, mournful voice this ravaging passage. It was moving to see how a Saturday holiday audience, some of whom had no idea who Virgil was, teared up at these words from 2,000 years ago. Amazing.