First edition cover
|Author||Ursula K. Le Guin|
|Publisher||Harcourt United States|
|April 21, 2008|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|LC Class||PS3562.E42 L38 2008|
Lavinia, daughter of the king of the Latins, is sought after by neighbouring kings, but knows she is destined to marry a stranger. This is Aeneas from the Trojan War, who arrives with a large body of Trojans.
An agreement is made but then breaks down and there is war, which is won by the outnumbered Trojans. They found a new city, called Lavinium, but Aeneas is killed after three years. Aeneas's elder son Ascanius founds Alba Longa and marries but fails to produce an heir. Lavinia removes her son Silvius from his control and he eventually becomes king of the Latins.
Rome already exists, but as a small settlement that plays no part in events.
Lavinia herself retreats from the world and at the end seems to have turned into an owl. She has all along regarded the world she lives in as unreal, a product of Vergil's imagination.
The book is based on the last six books of the Aeneid. Lavinia talks to the poet and it seems she only exists in the context of the poem, and knows it. It is not meant to be history. Le Guin says "The Trojan War was probably fought in the thirteenth century BC; Rome was founded, possibly, in the eighth, though there is no proper history of it for centuries after that. That Priam's nephew Aeneas of Troy had anything at all to do with the founding of Rome is pure legend, a good deal of it invented by Vergil himself".
She also explains that her work is a translation into prose of the last six books of the Aeneid, with extra details and changes where these felt right.
- Lavinia at Worlds Without End
- Interview with Le Guin on The Inkwell Review, on her novel Lavinia.
- Interview with Ramona Koval on the Book Show, ABC Radio National on her novel Lavinia.
- Interview about her Lavinia on National Public Radio's All Things Considered April 26, 2008
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