There is more to classical literature than just the classics. Here David Slavitt expands the can by presenting vivid, graceful, and amusing translations of two neglected fragmentary works of Latin literature. The first is Publius Papinius Statius's first-century epic Achilleid, an extraordinary fusion of epic and New Comedy sentiments and humor that may represent the earliest literary imagining of the charm of adolescence. It relates the story of the education of Achilles under the centaur Chiron, his adopting the disguise of a girl during his sojourn at the court of Lycomedes in Scyros, his love affair with Deidamia, his detection by Ulysses and Diomedes, and his departure for Troy. The second work is Claudius Claudianus's unfinished fourth-century epic version of the rape of Proserpine. The two works together make a delightful pair. The afterword by David Konstan explores the traditions in which-and against which-Statius and Claudian composed their versions of these well-kwn stories.
David R. Slavitt was educated at Andover and Yale and has published dozens of books: original poetry, translations, novels, critical works, and short stories. He worked for seven years as a journalist at Newsweek and continues to do freelance reporting and reviewing. With Palmer Bovie he coedited the Penn Greek Drama series and the Complete Roman Drama in Translation.