Cover image for Virgil : his life and times
Virgil : his life and times
Levi, Peter.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Physical Description:
vii, 248 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Duckworth, 1998.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PA6825 .L48 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Peter Levi teases a remarkably vivid life from Virgil's poems, a life-long study of poetry and the few facts that have come down to us through Suetonius.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Here is yet another book on grizzly bears, but it is almost impossible to write too much about one of our largest and most endangered animals. Busch spent four years in a remote river valley in British Columbia (an area he assigns a pseudonym for fear of attracting poachers), alternating between two camera blinds while he observed and photographed the bears. Grizzlies will congregate in the fall to feed on salmon making their spawning runs, and the author was able to view many aspects of the bears' behavior from a relatively close vantage point. He writes in the first person of his times sitting in his blinds, watching "The Terror Twins" (a pair of rambunctious cubs) fight over a dead salmon or as a male grizzly grazed on the fresh blades of spring grasses. He also writes of the relationship between grizzlies and humans, which often ends up with the bear as the loser. This nice overview of bears and their lives will fit well into libraries with large natural history collections. --Nancy Bent

Publisher's Weekly Review

Author of several books on natural history, including The Wolf Almanac, Busch returns with an account of the time he spent photographing grizzly bears in a pristine valley in British Columbia. (He uses pseudonyms for place names in order to protect the area from hunters.) For four years, Busch woke up at five in the morning, drove two hours along old logging roads and hiked three hours through brush to the two blinds he had built near the bend of a salmon-filled river. There he lay in wait with his cameras for the wildlife of the valley‘cougars, wolverines, lynx, caribou, marten, blue herons‘to appear around him. Busch saw many grizzlies gather salmon from the river, and his book provides ample information on the habits and history of these enormous animals. Unfortunately, his writing lacks the richness and complexity necessary to smoothly blend his memoirs (he spends many sections recalling his own history and attraction to nature) and his research. Even more disappointing are Busch's photographs: the most beautiful among them, and these are gorgeous, are of birds, trees and landscapes, not bears. Nonetheless, Busch's light, conversational tone makes for a pleasant, if not particularly compelling, account. 109 color photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Virgil was the Latin poet, writes Levi, formerly a professor of poetry at Oxford and a lecturer in the classics. As such, he fundamentally shapes our literature, our culture, and even our conception of natural identity. Therefore, the challenge to us as modern readers is to understand our inheritance. With this in mind, Levi unfolds the life and world of Virgil through a close reading and extended paraphrasing of the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Aeneid, attempting to extract and reconstruct the poet and his life from his lines. The result is an old-fashioned sort of biography that eschews psychological speculation, instead drawing on the author's deeply personal response to the subject informed by years of study and erudition. An able companion to Levi's recent Horace (LJ 3/15/98).‘Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Fans of Levi may be pleased with this work, but students of Virgil will almost inevitably be disappointed. Despite the subtitle and the author's claim that he is writing for (Latinless) "readers of a life of Virgil," almost the entire book is a loose running paraphrase of the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid. Despite Levi's learning and affection, scholars will find little that is new; readers not familiar with Virgil's work would find the poetry itself more interesting and more intelligible. Levi's style is discursive, his tone dismissive (Cinna's poetry was idiotic, Statius's pitiful, Seneca's revolting; Gallus was an idiot engineer, Ovid an ass, Servius a clown). Rather than a biography, this is chiefly a kind of memoir of Levi's lifelong study of Virgil. However, since Latin is mostly off limits, the author gives the reader Dryden (and occasionally Ogilby); the few words of Latin cited are not always correct. In fact, editing and proofreading as a whole are very poor. There is no bibliography, and full references to authorities cited (overwhelmingly British) are nowhere given. Recommended for general readers only. W. W. de Grummond; Florida State University