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The Oresteia of Aeschylus: A New Translation by Ted Hughes

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The Oresteia of Aeschylus: A New Translation by Ted Hughes Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the last year of his life, Ted Hughes completed translations of three major dramatic works: Racine's Phedre, Euripedes' Alcestis, and the trilogy of plays known as at The Oresteia, a family story of astonishing power and the background or inspiration for much subsequent drama, fiction, and poetry.

The Oresteia--Agamemnon, Choephori, and the Eumenides--tell the story of the house of Atreus: After King Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son, Orestes, is commanded by Apollo to avenge the crime by killing his mother, and he returns from exile to do so, bringing on himself the wrath of the Furies and the judgment of the court of Athens.

Hughes's "acting version" of the trilogy is faithful to its nature as a dramatic work, and his translation is itself a great performance; while artfully inflected with the contemporary, it has a classical beauty and authority. Hughes's Oresteia is quickly becoming the standard edition for English-language readers and for the stage, too.

The British poet, translator, author, and critic Ted Hughes, born in 1930, wrote more than forty books, including, in the last decade of his life, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being; Tales from Ovid; verse adaptations of Aeschylus's Oresteia, Racine's Phèdre, and Euripedes' Alcestis; and the bestselling Birthday Letters. Hughes served as Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II from 1984 until his death in 1998.

In the last year of his life, celebrated poet, critic, and translator Ted Hughes completed translations of three major dramatic works: Racine's  Phedre, Euripedes' Alcestis, and the trilogy of plays known as The Oresteia.

The Oresteia—Agamemnon, Choephori, and The Eumenides—depicts the downfall of the house of Atreus: after King Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son, Orestes, is commanded by Apollo to avenge the crime by killing his mother, and he he does so, bringing on himself the wrath of the Furies and the judgment of the court of Athens.

Commissioned by the Royal National Theater, Hughes's "acting version" of the trilogy is itself a great performance, capturing the classical grace and authority of Greek drama at its greatest while also exhibiting an artful and contemporary agility. This Oresteia is quickly becoming the standard edition for English-language students, scholars, and other readers.

"Hughes's rendering of this appalling story has the hurtling momentum one assumes the playwright's original Greek had for his Athenian audience . . . To release the play's staggering power Hughes has transformed some thoughtful scholarly commentary into raw horror and agonizing ethical dilemma . . . Ferociously physical . . . like the best of Hughes's own poems"Ron Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Hughes's rendering of this appalling story has the hurtling momentum one assumes the playwright's original Greek had for his Athenian audience . . . To release the play's staggering power Hughes has transformed some thoughtful scholarly commentary into raw horror and agonizing ethical dilemma . . . Ferociously physical . . . like the best of Hughes's own poems"Ron Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Evinces Hughes's wide range of interests and mastery of classic literatures. His nearly conversational rhythms produce an arresting mixture of colloquialism and formality, enlivened by strong imagery (as in the matricidal Orestes' declaration that 'This house has been the goblet / That the demon of homicide, unquenchable, / Has loved to drain') . . . An essential further installment in the always interesting oeuvre of a gifted poet who was also a diligent scholar."Kirkus Reviews

"Aeschylus, the fifth-century BC Attic tragedian, is famous for his knottiness, his clotted images and riddling compound words. Ted Hughes, in his posthumously published translation of the Orestes trilogy, unties the knots and unpacks the compounded thoughts."Gary Wills, The New York Times Book Review

"Hughes has made the ideal version of a primal dramatic masterpiece."Ray Olson, Booklist

"Hughes's translation conveys a sense of the menacing strength of Aeschylus' poetry . . . Anyone who hears it or reads it will realize that there is much more to Greek drama than verbiage and literary virtuosity"Mary Lefkowitz, Washington Times

"Notable for its poetic beauty and compassion, Hughes's superb lyric translation is a refreshing read for a contemporary English literary and theater audience."Library Journal

Synopsis:

In the last year of his life, Ted Hughes completed translations of three major dramatic works: Racine's Phedre, Euripedes' Alcestis, and the trilogy of plays known as at The Oresteia, a family story of astonishing power and the background or inspiration for much subsequent drama, fiction, and poetry.

The Oresteia--Agamemnon, Choephori, and the Eumenides--tell the story of the house of Atreus: After King Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son, Orestes, is commanded by Apollo to avenge the crime by killing his mother, and he returns from exile to do so, bringing on himself the wrath of the Furies and the judgment of the court of Athens.

Hughes's "acting version" of the trilogy is faithful to its nature as a dramatic work, and his translation is itself a great performance; while artfully inflected with the contemporary, it has a classical beauty and authority. Hughes's Oresteia is quickly becoming the standard edition for English-language readers and for the stage, too.

About the Author

Among Ted Hughes's translations are The Oresteia of Aeschylus, Racine's Phedre, and Tales from Ovid. His last book of poems, Birthday Letters, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Prize. He was Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II and lived in Devon, England until he died in 1998.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374527051
Translator:
Hughes, Ted
Other:
Aeschylus
Translator:
HUGHES, TED
Author:
Aeschylus
Author:
HUGHES, TED
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mythology, Greek
Subject:
Ancient, Classical & Medieval
Subject:
Orestes (Greek mythology)
Subject:
Greek & Roman
Subject:
Agamemnon (Greek mythology)
Subject:
DRAMA / General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20000931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
216
Dimensions:
9.3 x 5.08 x 0.62 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Classics
Arts and Entertainment » Drama » General
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » General
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Greek
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Greek and Roman

The Oresteia of Aeschylus: A New Translation by Ted Hughes Used Trade Paper
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Product details 216 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374527051 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
In the last year of his life, Ted Hughes completed translations of three major dramatic works: Racine's Phedre, Euripedes' Alcestis, and the trilogy of plays known as at The Oresteia, a family story of astonishing power and the background or inspiration for much subsequent drama, fiction, and poetry.

The Oresteia--Agamemnon, Choephori, and the Eumenides--tell the story of the house of Atreus: After King Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son, Orestes, is commanded by Apollo to avenge the crime by killing his mother, and he returns from exile to do so, bringing on himself the wrath of the Furies and the judgment of the court of Athens.

Hughes's "acting version" of the trilogy is faithful to its nature as a dramatic work, and his translation is itself a great performance; while artfully inflected with the contemporary, it has a classical beauty and authority. Hughes's Oresteia is quickly becoming the standard edition for English-language readers and for the stage, too.

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