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Looking for the meaning of life? Come to Constantine Phipps' poetic theme park

What You Want, by Constantine Phipps, is a didactic verse epic that takes Dante as its model – and, against all expectation, it works

31 May 2014

9:00 AM

31 May 2014

9:00 AM

What You Want, or the Pursuit of Happiness Constantine Phipps

Quercus, pp.320, £20, ISBN: 9781848664340

A favourite game of mine is to imagine Virgil and Homer today, plying their trade among the supermarkets and office blocks. What would they sing? Can modern life aspire to the epic, and can such a form still be understandable, even useful? C.S. Lewis, though he did translate the Aeneid beautifully, didn’t quite manage a similar feat with his bizarre modern epic, Dymer.

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