chapter  3
French Virgilian Criticism and the Importance of Broch
WithFiona Cox
Pages 28

The reception of Virgil's poetry in France is directed and conditioned not only by Virgilian presences in earlier works of art, but also by the work of professional classicists who colour the image of Virgil presented to students at school and university. The importance of the biographical approach stemmed in part from the need to keep Virgil alive in the minds of a public who could no longer be relied upon to have first-hand knowledge of Virgil. Haecker's importance to Broch is not just the Christianized vision of Virgil but also his depiction of the climate of the age in which they were both writing. On one level Broch's novel may be seen as a somewhat idiosyncratic account of Virgil's last hours, written at a time which fostered biographical accounts of Virgil. Broch's Virgil manifests the anxieties about reading and identity of the age in which he was brought to life.