Review by: Ed DeHoratius, New England Classical Journal 34.1 - January 1, 2007
New England Classical Journal 34.1 (2007) 66-70
Henry V Bender and David 1. Califf, Poet and Artist: Imaging the Aeneid. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 2004.
Perhaps the most significant issue facing Latin teachers (especially new and inexperienced ones) is the lack of varied resources for their classrooms. Sure, we love our old books, but few of my sophomores derive the same visceral pleasure from revisiting a battle-scarred OCT as I do. The Latin textbook market is essentially a static entity. Recently on the Latinteach discussion list, it vas lamented how narrow, because of Latin's relatively small percentage of the Foreign Language market, publishers can be in their consideration of potential texts. Sure, there are broad divisions: reading vs. grammar texts, beginning readers vs. more advanced readers, etc. But few publishers appear to be striving to break the mold. There have been some notable exceptions of course: both Waldo Sweet's publication of Servius' commentary on Books I and II of the Aeneid, and the Elaine Coury text of Terence's Phormio that includes facsimiles of a manuscript of the text, transcriptions of the manuscript text, and an edited text, stand out. In recent years, such anomalous texts have become even more common: the Legamus series of intermediate texts from Bolchazy-Carducci and the thematically organized Finis Rei Republicae from Focus Publishing represent the kind of innovations that publishers are starting to introduce to the market. But even these texts are isolated and not integrated (or only nominally integrated) into a comprehensive textbook system. I do love my dignified cloth-bound books, but I remain envious of my modern language counterparts who' receive from publishers boxes (with shoulder straps, no less) of materials to supplement their textbooks. Henry Bender, David Califf and Bolchazy-Carducci have furthered the nascent variety of texts available to the Latin teacher with the publication of Poet and Artist: Imaging the Aeneid. Although we don't have our shoulder straps yet, perhaps books like Poet and Artist augur their arrival.
The premise of the book is a simple but important one: connect image and text to facilitate both understanding and discussion of text. "The teacher's goal in this exercise (i.e. using the book) should be to probe the depth of a student's familiarity and command of the original Latin of Vergil…. The goal of a student should always be to look at this interaction, to probe the way in which the written word of Vergil has informed the drawing." (ix) Many teachers, I suspect, do this already in an idiosyncratic way, e.g examining Bernini's Apollo and Daphne while reading Ovid's version. There are no other texts that I know of, however, that link text and image in a systematic way that allows consistent, rather than isolated, comparison between the two, as the Bender-Califf text does.
Towards that end, Bender, Califf, and Bolchazy-Carducci have published the illustrations that accompany a 1698 edition of John Dryden's translation of the Aeneid; although the illustrations were not created expressly for the Dryden translation, they nonetheless came to be published with it. Henry Bender, possessing an edition of Dryden's Aeneid, embarked on a multi-year project to first photograph and later digitize these illustrations, creating as many as five detail shots per illustration. Though a few illustrations are included in the book, they are all included on a CD that comes with the book. Also printed in the book is the full text of Vergil's Aeneid covered by the Advanced Placement syllabus; the text is italicized to indicate a corresponding Dryden image, and left unitalicized to indicate the lack of a corresponding Dryden image. Discussion questions are included to facilitate comparison between the text and the corresponding images. Also included in the book are, a preface, including a section on how to use the book for both the teacher and the student; an introduction to translations of the Aeneid, the prints themselves, and the Dryden edition from which the prints were taken; an Appendix of an Annotated List of Illustrations from Dryden; instructions for using the CD; and the CD itself that includes the digital images.
The CD is perhaps the most important and most innovative aspect of the book. It is platform-independent and the images are included as both .pdf files and as a PowerPoint presentation. Images from the entire Dryden Aeneid, i.e. all images from books one to twelve, are included on the CD (remember that only text included on the AP syllabus is printed in the book). The instructions at the rear of the book detail both the contents of the CD (which includes for installation both PowerPoint Viewer and Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac and Windows) and detailed instructions for use by Mac and Widows users; only the most basic computer skills are required to use the CD. The images themselves are crisp and clean, and include multiple detail shots that allow teachers to focus on specific aspects or areas of the image. While the files themselves are locked, the images are not, and so teachers can copy them and incorporate them into their own slideshows or handouts if they wish. The availability and flexibility of digital images is far superior of course to that of print images. Images in print can be useful but they remain inherently static; it is difficult to incorporate them effectively when the teacher cannot control or manipulate them. Digital images, however, not only allow teachers to project images in a way similar to their analog predecessors, but also allow teachers to zoom, to survey, to heighten, to enhance, and to annotate. A teacher can add' boxes or arrows to a digital image (that appear and disappear) to highlight specific aspects of the image that she wants to discuss. The images can be used directly alongside other images of the same scene without the trouble of multiple slide projectors. And Smart Boards (a growing, if still relatively unknown, technology in the. Latin classroom) allow direct annotation of the images, similar to the way one could write over an image projected onto a white board, but with the added capability of saving the image and its annotations as a single file. The digital images alone then provide an important pedagogical tool for the teacher of the Aeneid; to include them shows a foresight and willingness to experiment that I hope BolchzayCarducci continues and other publishers imitate.
The facilitation of connections between text and image is where the book excel. A series of General Questions is presented to the student to "address the fundamental issues a reader of Vergil must confront when viewing each illustration." (1) Question 4 is a particularly important one: "In what ways can this image be considered as an interpretation of the artist rather than an illustration of the Latin text?" (1) Students too often connect myths and legends to history, i.e. there is a 'true' version (often the first one they learn) and then subsequent versions are compared to the 'true' version in terms of how well or poorly the subsequent version reflects the 'true' version. It is important to remind students that artists can, do, and should advance new interpretations of myth, dependent on their cultural and personal backgrounds, their artistic goals, and their influences. Bender and Califf do well to introduce such an issue early.
Text-specific discussion questions are also included throughout. Although it seems somewhat confusing (at first) that the discussion questions appear below text to which they do not refer (instead they refer to text on the facing page; their placement allows space to be left below for answers to be written), nonetheless such questions are necessary and indispensable for facilitating connections between image and text. The discussion questions prove indispensable for the AP teacher because they force the student to examine and interact with the text closely: [referring to Aeneid 1.50-131] "What features of Aeolus [in the illustration] correspond with his description in Latin?" (6). Providing opportunities for students not only to understand the Latin text but also to use it actively to answer and support even short paragraphs is invaluable practice for that ubiquitous AP mandate 'Refer specifically to the Latin throughout the passage to support the points you make in your essay' That students receive such practice in an innovative and creative way only augments the book's usefulness and success in the classroom.
The introduction includes a detailed introduction to the history of Vergil in print, the Dryden edition, and the prints themselves. The focus of the introduction, while certainly detailed enough, seems misplaced, especially if the text is intended for use with high-schoolers (and its inclusion of AP Vergil text alone certainly would indicate such). Specifying nine different publication dates for different editions of the Aeneid, all within less than half a century, would seem to overestimate its relevance to all but the most advanced Vergil scholars, much less high school students. The introduction might have instead focused on an introduction to the basics of viewing, interpreting, and analyzing art. Students receive woefully little art education, and much of what they do receive focuses on theater or music. The visual arts are often, intentionally or not, marginalized. For students to effectively view art (either from a projector or in a museum), they need a basic understanding of its terminology and approach. What is composition and how does it inform the artist's conception of both his work and the work of his antecedents (whether visual or literary)? How does color, shading, and light affect the way an artist presents a piece [acknowledging of course that the Dryden images are black and white]? Where is the eye drawn first and why is that significant for a piece of art? How is the creative process similar for visual and literary artists, and how is it different? These are all basic, important questions that students rarely consider but need to if they are to analyze art constructively and efficiently. Better to use the introduction as a forum for providing a much-needed overview of the mechanics of analyzing art than as a history of 17th century editions of Vergil. On the other hand, the introduction provides a very complete and worthwhile overview of intaglio processes; the etchings and engravings of the Dryden Aeneid, as well as aquatint, mezzotint, and drypoint. While these processes too might seem esoteric for the high school student, they nonetheless combine understanding of the current text with information that students can use outside of the classroom (i.e. on a museum trip, understanding other images they might find on-line, etc.).
While the book is invaluable for the Vergil teacher as a resource, a moderate identity crisis raises important issues for both the publishers and consumers of Latin textbooks. The authors would claim that Poet and Artist is a workbook, to be used alongside the AP syllabus, but the only real workbook-feature is space left underneath the discussion questions for answers to be written, and two perhaps perfunctory 'Students' Notes' pages at the end. While I would normally encourage and appreciate this sort of 'genre-bending', nonetheless in this case it seems to render the text less appropriate as a classroom text; teachers have come to expect some combination of vocabulary and commentary for an AP text. But this identity crisis also raises a larger question. Why is a text that really should be a supplement to an author's text being sold as a separate publication? Why has Poet and Artist (really, the CD alone) not been packaged with the AP textbooks themselves? Resources such as Poet and Artist (and I hope it is not the last) should be envisioned as part of a package that includes a variety of resources in addition to the textbook itself to assist the AP teacher in teaching what is already a daunting syllabus, rather than being packaged as a separate publication that the teacher has to discover, assess, and purchase separately.
I would encourage both teachers and publishers to reevaluate their concept of readers (AP or otherwise). Latin teachers, because of the (lack of) resources available for upper level courses, accept, often happily, the onus of producing every shred of paper beyond the Latin text that their classes receive. But if we axe trying to retain Latin teachers, to send them to upper level courses with only a text, even an annotated one (arid often the same one that their students are using), seems inadequate. Why can't readers or AP texts come with test booklets, companion web pages, activity books (in which a resource like Bender's Dryden text would fit perfectly), and more advanced commentaries as part of a teacher's edition? Many lore-collegiate teachers have no (or at best inconvenient) access to a classics library, and are forced to rely on the Internet or their personal library for resources. The more experienced teacher might have these resources in place, but of course the more experienced teacher likely has already resolved the crisis of vocation that many less experienced teachers face. And I'll be the first to admit that I like to make my own materials, but we all know that there are days when those folders of handouts from previous years come in very handy_ Why can't books provide such 'folders' for teachers who need them, i.e. those who don't have their own 'folders' yet? If we increase the comprehensiveness of resources available, we decrease the amount of stress on the already stressed young or beginning teacher (or experienced teacher teaching a new author or whose success has led to the expansion of their lower level program into the upper or AP levels), which in turn increases their likelihood of remaining in the profession, which then decreases the number of programs whose Latin teachers 'flee, and so decreases the number of schools who can safely eliminate a Latin program because they can't find a replacement teacher
Poet and Artist is an impressive publication, and one that I recommend wholeheartedly. Although I certainly have quibbles with some of the details, both Bender and Califf, and Bolchazy-Carducci should be commended for conceiving of and publishing such an innovative text. It exposes students to art to which they would not otherwise be exposed, it provides an opportunity for students to learn. how to interact with the visual arts, and it enables students to analyze the Latin text of the AP Vergil syllabus in an innovative and engaging way. While I suspect that only teachers whose students buy their own books would consider it as a regularly used classroom text, it nonetheless provides a wonderful resource for varying the instruction of the AP Vergil syllabus and augmenting the analytical skills of AP Vergil students.
Review by: Alden Smith, Classical World 99.2 - January 1, 2006
Henry V Bender and David J. Califf. Poet and Artist• lmaging the Aeneid_
Wauconda, M.: Bolchazy Carducci, 2004. Pp. xv, 83. $29.00 (pb.). ISBN 0-86516-585-8.
A high school-level textbook. this slender but impressive, paperback charts its course from the Advanced Placement syllabus. Yet its approach is very different than most AP-driven textbooks, for it is supplemented with a user-friendly CD-ROM that houses handsome illustrations from John Dryden's Works of Virgil, As Califf points out in his well-written and highly informative introduction, the illustrations that accompanied the editio princeps of Dryden's Virgil are "all but unknown to modern classicists" (xi). Thus, centered as it is on the illustrations, the approach of this book is markedly different from other high school textbooks, for, as Bender states in the preface, the instructor can use the illustrations to prompt the student to "Crake connections between word and image" (ix)
The first edition of Dryden's Works of Virgil appeared in 1697, Califf rightly credits by name the artists who were responsible for the illustrations (xii-xiv): Francis Cleyn (1570-1630), the principal inventor (designer) of the collection, as well as the skilled illustrators Wenceslaus Hollar, Pierre Lombart, and William Faithorne. Califf might have made it a bit clearer that, for example, Cleyn died the year before Dryden was born. and thus there was no direct link between the poet and that artist. All of the illustrators, in fact, died before the publication of Dryden's transla-tion, and Califf could have clarified a bit more precisely the nature of the relationship of these poets to the translator and to one another_ Yet this is but a minor criticism.
Most of the very impressive collection of images on the CD-ROM are taken from Bender's personal copy of the 1698 edition of Dryden's translation; the "Laocoon," however, comes from the University of Pennsylvania's copy of that edition, and "The Trojan Morse," which is missing both from Bender's copy and from that of the University of Pennsylvania, is reproduced From the earlier translation of the Aeneid by Ogilby (1654). All of the images have been reproduced at 96 dpi, which resolution per-mits them to be displayed through an LCD projector, as well as on a computer screen,
Inasmuch as it is intended chiefly for a high school audience, not sur-prisingly this book has a distinctly didactic feel to it. The material, the complete Latin text of Aeneid 1-6, contains sections that have been itali-cized, indicating that these correspond to an excerpt from the Aeneid that the Dryden or Ogilby prints illustrate, prom a pedagogical point of view, the concept is strategic. Study questions, none of which seems to sac patronizing or, at the other extreme, facile, are provided, ostensibly "to guide the students through their study of the Dryden illustrations" (1). As Bender notes, "reflection on how the illustrator has interpreted the Latin Text will enhance the students' literary critical acumen" (1)- The student-is also urged to took for clues to the Latin based on the artwork, as well as items missing from the illustration (ix). Thus, to interpret the picture, each stu-dent is compelled to read the Latin carefully. This is not merely a tip of the hat, broadly speaking, to the tradition of Vergilian Nachleben through translation and illustration, Lather, this book encompasses a very clever didactic strategy that bridges the gulf between word and image that, for example, Lessing's Laocoön posits and most classicists tacitly accept.
In short, though the book is slender and might well have offered oven more, Bender and Califf have in some measure opened a new vista upon the study and didactic presentation of Vergil. Such an approach should and, indeed, may well cause the student to read and reread the Latin text; see Bender's open exhortation to the student to do so (ix). Add to this that the students are encountering rare illustrations and engaging art in ways they may not have previously. I cart not say enough good things about this approach.
I recommend this book to everyone who teaches Vergil, certainly on the high school level and in some situations, on the university level, too, for the book could also afford college students an interesting and fresh access to the ancient text. Bender and Califf have offered the Vergilian community a positive step forward, a book and series of illustrations that will benefit both students and the scholars who teach them.
Classical World 99.2 (2006)
Review by: Cynthia White, The Classical Outlook, 83.1 - October 1, 2005
Poet & Artist.- Imaging the Aeneid. By HENRY V BENDER and DAVID J. CALIFF. Wauconda IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 2004. Pp. xvi and 88. Paper. $30.
In 1654, John Ogilby produced a translation of Vergil's complete works with 100 accompanying illustrations, called engravings, the first of which claims that readers of Vergil will be better prepared for the vagaries of life than anyone schooled in philosophical precepts (Nullis profecto philosophorum praeceptis aut melior aut civilior evadere potes quam ex Vergiliana lectione.). John Dryden concurred with the sentiment but was critical of Ogilby's translation. He published two editions of his own translation, in 1697 and in 1698. Though critical of his translation, Dryden nevertheless cribbed Ogilby's engravings, and then his publisher, Jacob Tonson, made two important changes to the originals: hoping that Dryden would dedicate his translation to King William, he had Aeneas depicted as King William III, who had deposed King James II in 1688, and he added prose line references where the Ogilby set had the relevant Latin lines inscribed below each illustration. Now Henry Bender and David J. Califf have digitized the images and collaborated to produce Poet 6 -Artist.- Imaging the Aeneid, a CD of the Dryden images together with the text of the AP Latin syllabus and discussion questions that invite readers to make all sorts of connections between the text and images. The authors tell us that, "By considering how the illustrator has chosen to stress one textual detail and exclude others, readers will acquire a heightened appreciation and more thorough understanding of each passage" (3).
High school or college students reading the Aeneid for the first time will appreciate the book's design. The images (all but two of which are taken from a 1698 Dryden edition) are numbered and named facing the corresponding page of the AP Latin text. For example, illustration 1.1 A, B, C, D refers to Aeneid 1, lines 50-131, the first passage in the Aeneid to be illustrated. The letters are additional images, close-ups of significant details in the illustration. Where the lines of the AP syllabus seem to refer to the image, they are italicized, and where a particular section of the AP Latin text has not been illustrated the authors note that as well. Following the identification of the image and facing the relevant text is a set of discussion questions with ample space for students to write their responses. The questions are repeated on consecutive pages where necessary so that students do not have to continually flip back to the questions as they read the text.
In general, the layout and plan of the book encourage students to study the text and the illustrations closely, to see in what ways the illustrations depart from the text, whether by adding or omitting details, and to analyze the specific lines and extended passages to which the images correspond. Such correspondences may be direct or indirect, as in Question #5 and Question #2 on "Aeneas Meets Dido in the Underworld": "What specific connections can be made between the Latin text and Dido's appearance?" and "Find details in the upper right that allude to earlier episodes in the Aeneid' (58).
The questions can provoke general discussions or close considerations and typically work in one of two ways. Either they ask students to identify (and conjecture reasons for) details in the images that are not in the text, e.g., "What detail of the Latin text is curiously omitted from the illustration of the `Landing at the Harbor of Carthage?"' (8); or, they ask students to identify details in the text that are not in the images, like this one from "The Death of Priam": "Lines 550-558 contain several stunning details which are not found in the illustration. What are these details, and why might they have been omitted?" (26) The authors distinguish between AP and non-AP syllabus material but do not entirely exclude non-AP material in their questions. Question #3, on "Troy Invaded," for example, asks students to react to the illustration by considering lines that are not included in the AP syllabus: "The violent confrontation in the lower part of this scene represents what subsequent events as described in lines 402-452 (not included in the AP syllabus)?" (24)
Some of the questions are straightforward identifications of Latin words. Question #7, for instance, on "The Death of Priam" asks students to identify and connect the specific Latin words that correspond to details of the image: the fire, the laurel tree, Hecuba and her daughters, Polites, Priam, and Pyrrhus (26). Other questions are significantly more complex, like Question #1 on "The Escape of Aeneas, Anchises, Ascanius, and Creusa": "How does the artist convey an awareness of Creusa's impending death?" (30) Or, Question #4 on "Lady Rumor": "How is the tenuous relationship between Aeneas and Dido prefigured by their gestures in this illustration?" (36)
Question #5 on "Mercury Visits Aeneas" offers students an opportunity to compare the historical context of the poem and the topography of Dryden's seventeenth-century England (40). In it, students are asked to consider the artistic function of the architectural elements in the illustration and the correspondence between them and the Latin text. Similarly, Question #5 on "The Visitation of Iris" asks students to find evidence of two different seventeenth-century hands at work in the illustration (46).
The short Introduction provides a history of the illustrations and the illustrators (there were at least four known hands and one unknown) as well as an overview of translations of Vergil. Particular attention is given to translations produced in Britain up until the time of Dryden's verse translation, justly regarded as fine English poetry in its own right. The art of engraving and the distinction between an etched and engraved image is carefully explained: "Etched lines are more fluid, softer, less distinct, and have fuzzier edges. Engraved lines are sharper, bolder, and have crisp edges" (xiii). Thus, an engraver is sometimes called a "sculptor" (sculpsit) and the etcher, a "maker" (fecit). A useful Appendix contains an annotated list of illustrations from Dryden's edition identifying, for each illustration, the page, scene, lines in the Aeneid, the attribution (without translations, but we know whether the illustration was engraved or etched by the verb sculpsit or fecit), and the dedicatee. While all the images are included on the CD, Poet &Artist is concerned only with those images that correspond to the AP Latin syllabus. There are clear directions for using the book ("How to Use This Book" [ix]), technical instructions for both PC and MAC users, as well as a bibliography of other Bolchazy-Carducci publications related to Vergil.
Poet & Artist juxtaposes selected images from the plates of Dryden's translation of the Aeneid, the text closely related to the images, and a variety of discussion questions in a format easy for students to use. The images are both Power Point and PDF format and there is a complete text of the AP Latin Syllabus with relevant passages italicized. The discussion questions face the text on the opposite page and there is ample space for students to record their notes and interpretations. As such, it is a welcome addition to a body of fine texts and resources for students and teachers reading the AP Latin syllabus. However, Poet & Artist is more than a thoughtfully designed study tool for the AP Vergil Exam. It requires such a close reading of the text and such careful observations of the illustrations that it will also lead AP Latin students to ask their own questions about the seventeenth-century (and subsequent) reception of the Aeneid, the accuracy of the illustrations, and the extent to which the illustrations effected the canonization of certain passages and, indeed, the very development of the AP syllabus. Still, as handy as the layout is, it may disappoint a more general readership-high school students not preparing for the AP exam, college classrooms, book groups-who may wish that all the illustrations with corresponding text and discussion questions had been included in the book.
University of Arizona
Review by: Alexander McKay, McMaster University - September 27, 2005
Vergil is the acknowledged expert among those landscape painters who have used words instead of pigments. Master of landscape and figures alike, his epic canvas stands as an organized and harmonious entity. John Dryden, his finest translator, communicated the colors and the landscapes and the often flamboyant actors, and never faltered in his portrayal of heroic figures in significant action often seasoned with some personal intrusions….
…a welcome didactic offering, one that will provide considerable scope for imaginative, meticulous, and judicious responses to the original Latin [of Vergil’s Aeneid].
Review: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers - June 15, 2004
POET AND ARTIST:IMAGING THE AENEID
Authors Henry V. Bender and David Califf have produced in Poet and Artist a winning combination of a CD that features the illustrations of Ogilby as included in John Dryden’s 1698 translation of The Aeneid and a student edition of the AP* lines of Vergil’s epic, complete with questions about Vergil’s Latin masterpiece. By juxtaposing the images on the plates, the text of Vergil, and useful questions to be used as guidelines, the authors have enabled students to increase their comprehension of the Latin passage and its textual details and to reflect more critically upon the text and the artist’s canvas.
The images on the CD are in PowerPoint and also in Pdf format. A PowerPoint viewer and a Pdf reader are also included on the CD for the convenience of the user. Images on the CD that pertain to lines from the AP* Vergil syllabus are indicated on the CD. All of Ogilby’s images from other sections of the epic are also included on the CD. Thus this CD can be used to enhance an AP* Vergil classroom or any Vergil class, at any level, no matter what lines are being read.
The student edition contains the AP* text of Vergil’s Aeneid on the right hand side of the page with the passages that are illuminated by one of the images on the CD in italics. On the left hand side of the page are the questions, which students are to answer by comparing and contrasting the Latin text with the image on the CD. No notes, vocabulary, or other aides appear in the student edition that is meant to be used by those who have already read Vergil’s lines at least once before. In this way, the student edition becomes a way for the student and the teacher to see how much of Vergil’s Latin has been mastered.
Alexander G. McKay (Professor Emeritus, McMaster University, Ontario, CA) writes that Poet and Artist is “a welcome didactic offering, one that will provide considerable scope for imaginative, meticulous, and judicious responses to the original Latin” of Vergil’s Aeneid.