The Oresteia

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Highly acclaimed as translators of Greek and Sanskrit classics, respectively, David Grene and Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty here present a complete modern translation of the three plays comprising Aeschylus' Orestia and, with the assistance of director Nicholas Rudall, an abridged stage adaptation. This blanced and highly successful collaboration of scholars with a theater director solves the contemporary problems of translating and staging the Orestia, which originally was written ...

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Oresteia

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Overview

Highly acclaimed as translators of Greek and Sanskrit classics, respectively, David Grene and Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty here present a complete modern translation of the three plays comprising Aeschylus' Orestia and, with the assistance of director Nicholas Rudall, an abridged stage adaptation. This blanced and highly successful collaboration of scholars with a theater director solves the contemporary problems of translating and staging the Orestia, which originally was written to be performed in Athens in the first half of the fifth century B.C.
 
While remaning faithful to the original Greek, Grene and O'Flaherty embrace a strong and adventurous English style, vivid and visceral. The language of this extraordinary translation, immediately accessible to a theater audience, speaks across the centuries. Premiered at Chicago's Court Theater in 1986 under Rudall's direction, the stage adaptation of the Orestia proved eminently playable.
 
This new adaptation of the orestia offers a brilliant demonstration of how clearly defined goals (here, the actor's needs) can inspire translators to produce fresh, genuine, accessible dramatic texts. The resulting work provides complete and accurate texts for those who cannot read the original Greek, and it transforms the Orestia into an effective modern stage play. With interpretive introductions written by the translators and director, this new version will be welcomed by teachers of translation courses, by students of Greek and world drama in general, and by theater professionals.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
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, theater groups, and theater departments.-Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Booknews
Translators Grene and O'Flaherty present a modern translation of the three plays composing the Oresteia and, with the assistance of director Nicholas Rudall, an abridged stage adaptation which transforms the Oresteia into an effective modern stage play. Includes introductory material. Cloth edition ($32.50). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Though it's tempting to imagine the late English poet laureate's long tortured relationship with the image of (his wife) feminist heroine Sylvia Plath as its subtext, this vivid free-verse translation of Aeschylus' dark and bloody tragic trilogy (comprising Agamemnon, Choephori, and Eumenides) more properly 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"), and only infrequently weakened by astonishing woodenness—as in Clytemnestra's cool reply to the Chorus who lament her murder of her husband: "You think I'm an irresponsible woman? / You are making a mistake"). Perhaps not the ultimate "acting edition" it claims to be, but, still, an essential further installment in the always interesting oeuvre of a gifted poet who was also a diligent scholar.
From the Publisher

Peter Meineck's new rendition of the Oresteia is that rare and wonderful thing: a text accessible to the Greekless audience while still preserving the vocabulary of Aeschylus. Those of us who have seen Peter Meineck's performances have long marveled at his ability to turn Greek into clear English, how he does not do 'versions' of the plays, how he does not rewrite the ancients into modern jargon (even his comedies maintain more Aristophanic text than is usual). Here lines that students have always needed explicated stand clear. . . . Helene Foley has provided a fine introduction for this translation. Introduction and translation together provide an exciting text, one that should be widely read, widely used. --Karelisa Hartigan, University of Florida, in The Classical Outlook

. . . a translation for the stage by an experienced man of the theater. Its virtues are very real, and, though Meineck makes them seem easy, very hard to achieve. The idiom is contemporary without yielding to the siren song of gimmicky updating; it manages to be clear without betraying Aeschylus’ complexity or sacrificing his intricate imagery. What makes it effective on stage makes it work on the page, too. With the added guidance of Helene Foley's characteristically intelligent Introduction and Meineck's own crisp annotation and full stage directions, this translation offers the most approachable and in many ways most communicative Oresteia now available. It will be the Oresteia of choice for many teachers and their students, as well as for readers interested in what makes Greek tragedy great theater. --Peter Burian, Duke University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226007717
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/1989
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.79 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Collard was Professor of Classics at the University of Wales, Swansea from 1975 until his retirement in 1996. He has published annotated editions of Euripides' Suppliant Women, Hecuba, and Select Fragmentary Plays

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7
Acknowledgements 11
A Reading of 'The Oresteia': The Serpent and the Eagle 13
Agamemnon 99
The Libation Bearers 173
The Eumenides 227
The Genealogy of Orestes 279
Select Bibliography 281
Notes 285
Agamemnon 285
The Libation Bearers 305
The Eumenides 317
Glossary 331
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Customer Reviews

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