I generally wish I could be in Los Angeles, but even more so this Thursday March 12th for Prof. John Van Sickle’s talk Picturing Virgil’s Pastorals in Graphic Novel Style at the USC Dornsife Department of Classics. Prof. Van Sickle, who teaches Classics at Brooklyn College and Comparative Literature at CUNY, has devoted his career to the ten poems that make up Virgil’s slender book of singing goatherds known as the Eclogues or Bucolics. Most recently he has published a new ‘Illustrated Digital Edition’ of his 2010 book Virgil’s Book of Bucolics, the Ten Eclogues Translated into English Verse: Framed by Cues for Reading Aloud and Clues for Threading Texts and Themes with Bare Knuckles Press (see and click below).
I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Van Sickle during a talk at Ohio State a few years ago, as the first speaker in a series I organized called Ten Talks on Virgil’s Eclogues. On that occasion, amid lively discussions about art, trees and poetry, I took it upon myself to describe him as ‘the conscience of the Eclogues‘ and this new e-book is a case in point. Not only does he bring Virgil’s pastoral poems to a whole new audience with this accessibly ‘clickable’ and clued-in edition, giving a hands on guide to to Virgil’s cast of lovers, losers, singers, drunks and satyrs, he directly participates in the long tradition of illustrating Virgil’s poetry through his close collaboration with the graphic novelist Winston Blakely. Below is Blakeley’s wonderful illustration of the plots of all ten of Virgil’s poems, created from storyboards made by Prof. Van Sickle.
If I was in Los Angeles this Thursday, I would ask Prof. Van Sickle about Blakely’s depiction of Virgil the Necromancer in his Dark World Now. Echoes of the vates Moeris in Eclogue 8 perhaps?
See here for more information about Prof. Van Sickle’s USC talk.