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The Pig War

Regular price $20.00

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 Fundwith 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.

“In this pioneering and pathbreaking edition of this pre-modern poem, pugnacious porcine epic cum political parable, Fontaine is playful rather than pedantic or plodding in his prose paraphrase and prodigious scholarship, producing pleasing and plucky prose out of a problematic Pig(gish)-Latin prickly to parse. He even proposes the poem as a possible prototype for Orwell’s popular Animal Farm. Plaudits to this praiseworthy project.”

–  A.E. Stallings, author of Like 

The Pig War is also available for purchase on Amazon. For further information or questions about this pig poem and its peculiar past, please read the introductory essay by Michael Fontaine or contact us at