Synopses & Reviews
by Aeschylus, the only extant trilogy among the Greek tragedies, is one of the great foundational texts of Western culture. Beginning with Agamemnon
, which describes Agamemnon's return from the Trojan War and his murder at the hands of his wife Clytemnestra, and continuing through Orestes' murder of Clytemnestra in Libation Bearers
and his acquittal at Athena's court in Eumenides
, the trilogy traces the evolution of justice in human society from blood vengeance to the rule of law. The story of the house of Atreus is a tale of incest, adultery, human sacrifice, cannibalism, and political intrigue. It is also a story in which human action is simultaneously willed and determined.
In this new translation the strangeness of the original Greek and its enduring human truth come alive in language that is remarkable for its unrelenting poetic intensity, its rich metaphorical texture, and a verbal density that can at times modulate into the simplest expressions. The precise but complicated rhythms of this translation honor the music of the original Greek, bringing into unforgettable English the Aeschylean vision of a world fraught with spiritual and political tensions, a world in which justice is a cosmic balance that inevitably rights itself both by means of and despite the evil deeds of characters who claim to act on justice's behalf.
"These two new additions to Oxford's 'Greek Tragedy in New Translations' series only add to the luster of the previous releases. Each is firmly packed with insightful introductions, comprehensive and numbered notes, glossaries, and up-to-date bibliographies (the plays' texts take up about half of each volume). The collaboration of poet and scholar in each volume produces a language that is easy to read and easy to speak (compare, for instance, the Watchman's first lines in Shapiro and Burian's Agamemnon with those in Lattimore's 1947 translation). Each volume's introduction presents the play's action and themes with some detail. The translators' notes describe the linguistic twists and turns involved in rendering the text into a modern poetic language. Both volumes are enthusiastically recommended for academic libraries, theatre groups, and theatre departments."--Library Journal [starred review of Oresteia and Antigone&R]
About the Author
is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of a number of prize-winning volumes of poetry and prose, including The Dead Alive and Busy
, winner of the 2001 Kingsley Tufts Award. Peter Burian
is Professor of Classical Studies at Duke University. Together, they act as the general editors for Oxford's Greek Tragedy in New Translations series.