2019. John Placentius. The Pig War. Puzzled Out by Michael Phontaine. Pigtures penned by David Beck. Paideia Institute Press.
The Pig War is the first modern critical edition of John Placentius’s timeless fairytale of privilege and oppression, edited and translated by Michael Fontaine and illustrated by David Beck. All profits from the sale of this book will go to benefit the Reginald Foster Scholarship Fund, with a directive to promote diversity, access and inclusion at the Paideia Institute.
In 1530, amid the ferment of the Reformation, the strangest poem in all of Latin literature appeared. Written by one John Placentius, it consists of 248 lines in which every word begins with the letter p. The poem—titled Pugna Porcorum—is a satirical epic telling of a conflict between the corrupt hogs, who are hogging all the privileges, and the disgruntled piglets, who want in on them. It devolves into open war. In The Pig War, Michael Fontaine offers the first critical Latin text and the first translation of the Pugna into any language, and original illustrations by David Beck bring the timeless fairytale of privilege and oppression to life. In an afterword, Fontaine explores the poem’s possible influence on Orwell’s Animal Farm.
- Overview and backstory: Cornell Chronicle
- The Twisted Tale of The Pig War: InMediasRes
- Reviews: Literary Review April 2020 (E. Park); PN Review Jan/Feb 2023 (E. Jones)
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