Le Virgile français: Jacques Delille’s Commented Edition of the Aeneid
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Jacques Delille’s four-volume edition of the Aeneid, published in Paris ‘chez Giguet et Michaud’, includes the Latin text, a French verse translation, notes and illustrations. At its first appearance in 1804, Delille’s Virgilian enterprise was not received with the same triumphant welcome as his French version of the Georgics (1770), which had sealed his consecration as a master of the didactic genre in Virgil’s wake.1 Delille’s Énéide, however, can be read as a summa of the long development of Delille’s poetics and as a synthesis of his experience as a Virgilian didactic poet. Delille completed his work on the Aeneid in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, where he lived as a self-exile from revolutionary Paris since 1794.2 Yet he was not alone in his ambitious project: the commented edition of the Aeneid was the result of a remarkable teamwork effort.
The engraved illustrations were provided by a variety of artists, including François Gérard, Anne-Louis Girodet and Jean-Michel Moreau;3...