Synopses & Reviews
Agamemnon, King of Argos, returns to Greece a victor in the Trojan War, bringing with him the seer Cassandra as his war-prize and concubine. Awaiting him is his vengeful wife Clytemnestra, who is angry at Agamemnon’s sacrifice of their daughter Iphigeneia to the gods, jealous of Cassandra, and guilty of taking a lover herself. The events that unfold catch everyone in a bloody net, including their absent son Orestes.
Aeschylus was the first of the three great tragic dramatists of ancient Greece, a forerunner of Sophocles and Euripides. His earlier tragedies were largely choral pageants with minimal plots. In Agamemnon, he retains the lyricism of those works, but he infuses this drama with such creativity and energy that the spectator or reader is constantly spellbound. From the speech of the weary watchman on the roof, lying on his forepaws like a dog, to the blood-splattered Clytemnestra who likens herself to a garden in bloom, passage after passage demands to be included in anthologies of Greece’s greatest poems.
Translator David Mulroy brings this ancient tragedy to life for modern readers and audiences. Using end rhyme and strict metrics, he combines the buoyant lyricism of the Greek text with a faithful rendering of its meaning in lucid English. The Agamemnon no longer needs to be called a difficult play.
“This version is far superior to any translation of the Antigone known to me. For the modern reader, the Antigone is now a rich and rewarding play in English.”—Robert J. Rabel, author of Plot and Point of View in the “Iliad”
Horace is the quintessential lyric poet of the Silver Age, the poet of wit, urbanity, sophistication, and a unique balance of irony and ingenuous passion. David Slavitt is just such a writer in American English. He has given us in this translation an experience equivalent to the excitement of reading Horace in Latin.”Daniel Mark Epstein, translator of The Bacchae
An unconventional and boldly original work.”David Mulroy, translator of Oedipus Rex
ranks with his Oedipus Rex
as one of world literature’s most compelling dramas. The action is taut, and the characters embody universal tensions: the conflict of youth with age, male with female, the state with the family. Plot and character come wrapped in exquisite language. Antagonists trade polished speeches, sardonic jibes and epigrammatic truisms and break into song at the height of passion.
David Mulroy’s translation of Antigone faithfully reproduces the literal meaning of Sophocles’ words while also reflecting his verbal pyrotechnics. Using fluid iambic pentameters for the spoken passages and rhyming stanzas for the songs, it is true to the letter and the spirit of the great Greek original.
Oedipus at Colonus
follows Oedipus Rex
in the trilogy of Greek dramas about the king of Thebes and his unhappy family. David Mulroys translation combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh verse style, and his introduction and notes deepen the readers understanding of the play and the politics of Sophocles Athens.
Oedipus at Colonus
is the third in Sophocles' trilogy of plays about the famous king of Thebes and his unhappy family. It dramatizes the mysterious death of Oedipus, by which he is transformed into an immortal hero protecting Athens. This was Sophocles' final play, written in his mid-eighties and produced posthumously. Translator David Mulroy's introduction and notes deepen the reader's understanding of Oedipus' character and the real political tumult that was shaking Athens at the time that Sophocles wrote the play. Oedipus at Colonus
is at once a complex study of a tragic character, an indictment of Athenian democracy, and a subtle endorsement of hope for personal immortality.
As in his previous translations of Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Mulroy combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh poetic style. He uses iambic pentameter for spoken passages and short rhymed stanzas for choral songs, resulting in a text that is accessible and fun to read and perform.
The Odes of Horace are a treasure of Western civilization, and this new English translation is a lively rendition by one of the prominent poet-translators of our own time, David Slavitt. Charming, shrewd, and intimate, the voice of the Odes is that of a sociable wise man talking amusingly but candidly to admiring friends. This edition is also notable for Slavitts extensive notes and commentary about the art of translation.
of Horace are a treasure of Western civilization, and this new English translation is a lively rendition by one of the prominent poet-translators of our own time, David R. Slavitt. Horace was one of the great poets of Romes Augustan age, benefiting (as did fellow poet Vergil) from the friendship of the powerful statesman and cultural patron Maecenas. These Odes
, which take as their formal models Greek poems of the seventh century BCEespecially the work of Sappho and Alcaeusare the observations of a wry, subtle mind on events and occasions of everyday life. At first reading, they are modest works but build toward a comprehensive attitude that might fairly be called a philosophy. Charming, shrewd, and intimate, the voice of the Odes
is that of a sociable wise man talking amusingly but candidly to admiring friends.
This edition is also notable for Slavitts extensive notes and commentary about the art of translation. He presents the problems he encountered in making the translation, discussing possible solutions and the choices he made among them. The effect of the notes is to bring the reader even closer to the original Latin and to understand better how to gauge the distance between the two languages.
A new verse translation of Agamemnon, the first play in Aeschylus’s trilogy The Oresteia, combines the buoyant lyricism of the Greek text with a faithful rendering of its meaning in lucid English.
About the Author
Aeschylus (525/4–456/5 B.C.E.) was Greece’s leading playwright between his first victory at the festival Dionysus in 484 B.C.E. until his death, winning thirteen first-place crowns in that period. His epitaph, however, boasts only that he fought bravely for Athens at the Battle of Marathon. David Mulroy is a professor emeritus of classics at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His translations of The Complete Poetry of Catullus
and of Sophocles’ Theban trilogy—Oedipus Rex
, and Oedipus at Colonus
—are all published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
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