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.
“A great work of world literature has at last become a great poem in English. Mulroy’s translation is far superior to other available English verse translations.”—Robert J. Rabel, editor of Approaches to Homer, Ancient and Modern
“Introductory notes on such matters as the historical background, fate vs. free will, and (inevitably) the Oedipus Complex are clear and useful.”—Peter Green, The New York Review of Books
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
“[This] excellent monograph . . . covers chattel slavery from Mycenean times to the end of the Roman empire. . . . Its focus is on the economic use and the everyday existence of slaves, particularly in classical Athens and republican and imperial Rome.”—Niall McKeown, The Classical Review
“A concise and elegant summary of what is known about classical slavery. The authors provide a rich and well-written argument, moving among various kinds of evidence, literary and material, and treating historiographical difficulties and scholarly controversies without getting lost in them. One of its great virtues is the constant interplay between Greek and Roman practices, providing a model of comparative study.”—Page duBois, author of Slavery: Antiquity and Its Legacy and Slaves and Other Objects
“Andreau and Descat have taken on a difficult task in their effort not only to discuss over one thousand years of slavery but also to synthesize and contextualize what is often very problematic source material, produced by two societies which were not terribly interested in any sort of systematic discussion of slavery. The end result is an eminently readable study, which also serves as an exemplary model of comparative history.”—New England Classical Journal
Oedipus Rex is the greatest of the Greek tragedies, a profound meditation on the human condition. The story of the mythological king, who is doomed to kill his father and marry his mother, has resonated in world culture for almost 2,500 years. But Sophocles’ drama as originally performed was much more than a great story—it was a superb poetic script and exciting theatrical experience. The actors spoke in pulsing rhythms with hypnotic forward momentum, making it hard for audiences to look away. Interspersed among the verbal rants and duels were energetic songs performed by the chorus. David Mulroy’s brilliant verse translation of Oedipus Rex recaptures the aesthetic power of Sophocles’ masterpiece while also achieving a highly accurate translation in clear, contemporary English. Speeches are rendered with the same kind of regular iambic rhythm that gave the Sophoclean originals their drive. The choral parts are translated as fluid rhymed songs. Mulroy also supplies an introduction, notes, and appendixes to provide helpful context for general readers and students.
David Mulroy’s brilliant verse translation of Oedipus Rex recaptures the aesthetic power of Sophocles’ masterpiece while also achieving a highly accurate translation in clear, contemporary English.
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.
Jean Andreau and Raymond Descat break new ground in this comparative history of slavery in Greece and Rome. Focusing on slaves’ economic role in society, their crucial contributions to Greek and Roman culture, and their daily and family lives, the authors examine the different ways in which slavery evolved in the two cultures. Accessible to both scholars and students, this book provides a detailed overview of the ancient evidence and the modern debates surrounding the vast and largely invisible populations of enslaved peoples in the classical world.
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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