Books: 2,000 Years Apart

THE DEATH OF VIRGIL — Hermann Broch—Pantheon Books ($5.50).

THE PINE TREE AND THE MOLE—Enzio Taddei—Dial ($2.50).

The ships of the imperial squadron were heading for the Adriatic port of Brundisium (Brindisi). The largest ship carried vast purple sails; its prow bore a golden lion's head. Lounging in a tent beneath the ornamented rigging was Augustus Octavian Caesar, Emperor of Italy, Gaul and the lands of the Nile. Lying on a pallet in the next ship was the Roman poet Virgil, coughing 'blood and clutching the manuscript of his unfinished masterpiece, The Aeneid.

Virgil was...

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