Foreword by Roger Scruton
Original cover art by Daniel Mackie special to this Talonbooks edition.
"Ascraeumque cano Romana per oppida carmen" (Verg., G. ii.176)
Fellow of the Adler-Aquinas Institute
"Hesiod's appeal may widen with the publication of Morrissey's new translation. It is clear and reads well, especially aloud. Shifts in tone and vocabulary from the formal to the demotic are challenges that some translators fail to meet. Not Morrissey. ...
Morrissey has brought fire and light to
Hesiod's work, and offered it to us with clarity and good humour, in
the darkening air of our time."
version … has a gnomic quality, and we do feel as if we are glimpsing
the art of an ancient poet. … At the same time, the book does
not discount the possibility of being used for academic purposes …
this translation works effectively as a source for the myths which is
uncommonly mindful of historical circumstances surrounding its composition,
which we are at times in danger of forgetting. … Morrissey’s
diligent style and innovative framing devices provide a new and helpful
context to read and re-read some of the great founding narratives of
"Simply put, this translation
possesses the potential
"My favorite book of the year was,
without a doubt, Canadian philosopher Chris Morrissey’s new translation
of Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days
(Talon). Morrissey has provided a spectacular and poetic read of one
of the greats of antiquity. The profundity of Hesiod’s language
as well as his mythopoetic vision shine forth in this new translation."
"All great systems, ethical or political,
attain their ascendancy over the minds of men by virtue of their appeal to the
imagination; and when they cease to touch the chords of wonder and mystery and
hope, their power is lost, and men look elsewhere for some set of principles
by which they may be guided. We live by myth. ‘Myth’ is
not falsehood; on the contrary, the great and ancient myths are profoundly true.
The myth of Prometheus will always be a high poetic representation of an ineluctable
truth, and so will the myth of Pandora. A myth may grow out of an actual
event almost lost in the remote past, but it comes to transcend the particular
circumstances of its origin, assuming a significance universal and abiding.
Nor is a myth simply a work of fancy: true myth is only represented,
never created, by a poet. Prometheus and Pandora were not invented by the solitary
imagination of Hesiod. Real myths are the product of the moral experience of
a people, groping toward divine love and wisdom—implanted in
a people’s consciousness, before the dawn of history, by a power and a
means we never have been able to describe in terms of mundane knowledge."
—Russell Kirk, "The Dissolution of Liberalism," Commonweal (January 7, 1955), 374.