Skip to main content
Return to Bibliography of Willa Cather's Readings

Bibliography: Aeneid by Virgil

c. 20 B.C.E.
Note Source
Collected Short Fiction 1892-1912 145; (My Antonia Book II, Chap. 14; The Professor's House Book I, Chap. 10; Book II, Chapp. 6; Shadows on the Rock Book II, Chap. 7; Book 3, Chap. 6; My Antonia Scholarly Edition, note 170; Shadows on the Rock Book II, Chap. 6; Courier 10/26/1895
Note Relating to Cather

In "The Namesake," Lyon Hartwell found a copy of the Aeneid in his uncle's trunk. Both Jim Burden and Tom Outland read the Aeneid before entering the university. Tom Outland specifically recites from memory for Godfrey St. Peter: "Infandum, reginina, jubes [iubes] renovare dolorem ("Beyond all words, O queen, is the grief thou biddest me revive" Book 2, l. 3). Finally, in Shadows on the Rock, Auclair compares Blinker to Dido in the Aeneid. Auclair tells Cecile the words of Queen Dido: "Having known misery, I have learned to pity the miserable." Later, the narrator says, "when an adventurer carries his gods with him into a remote and savage country, the colony he founds will, from the beginning, have graces, traditions, and riches of the mind and spirit" (See book 1, l.6).

According to a note in My Antonia, "Cather knew Virgil's Latin poem well, having studied it both in Red Cloud and at the University of Nebraska."

In Shadows on the Rock the line "inferretque deos Latio" ("and he brought his gods to Latium")is from Book 1, line 6.

In an 1895 Courier article Cather writes: "There have been innumerable attempts to dramatize that greatest love story of the ages. They began with Virgil, who tried to do it in that dramatic fourth book of the Aeneid in the person of the infelix Dido. Since then poets and dramatists and novelists galore have struggled with it. But among them all the great William [Shakespeare] is the only man who has made a possible character of the Egyptian queen."