The Complete Plays: AndromachÍ. HÍkabÍ. Suppliant women. lektra. The madness of HeraklÍs
Library Journal, June 2006These brisk and earthy new translations of 19 plays by Euripides?among them Alkestis and Hippolytos?give David Grene and Richmond Lattimore?s The Complete Greek Tragedies: Euripides(1959) a run for its money. In each volume, Mueller (theater, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; translator, Luigi Pirandello: Three Major Plays) offers concise introductions that set Euripides and his plays in their time and include descriptions of various forms of theater, the use of masks and music, and the centrality of Dionysus?information valuable both to the newcomer and to the performer. The ?Note on Translation? outlines purposes and methods (summed up in the words of St. Jerome: ?I have always aimed at sense, not words?), and the bibliography includes works published from 1907 to 1996. Exemplifying the plays in the set is Medeia. In a 1944 translation by Rex Warner in the Grene/Lattimore volumes, the language is roundabout (e.g., ?I would not have spoken or touched him with my hands?); Mueller?s translation, which speaks vigorously to modern audiences, is much more direct (e.g., ?No, not one word, not one touch?). The paperback version belongs in college and university libraries. At $70 per volume, the hardcover edition had better be bound in Moroccan leather, the title stamped in gold leaf on the spine.-Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Euripides' is one of only three Ancient Greek tragedians with surviving plays. The plays by the earliest, Aeschylus, remind me of a ancient frieze--not stilted exactly, but still stylized, very formal. The plays by Sophocles, in the middle chronologically are less so--he was credited with adding a third actor onstage, deemphasizing the chorus and allowing for more conflict. But it's the last of the three, Euripides, who to me seems the most natural, the most modern. Only 19 of some ninety-odd plays by Euripides still remain in existence. Reading over these plays made him ultimately my favorite Ancient Greek playwright. It might have helped that not only have I studied two of his plays in school (though the same is true of Aeschylus and Sophocles), but have actually seen his most famous play, Medea, in a Broadway production--the one with Zoe Caldwell, I think, though the drama is so playable it has gone through several Broadway productions in my lifetime. Medea was one of the plays assigned me in school--the other one was Bacchae, a play that still has the power to shock. And mind you--look at Medea--a play where a mother murders her own young children. Euripides makes Sophocles and Aeschylus look staid with the rawness and wildness of what he presents onstage. His women are more real to me too. There's a lot of debate about whether Euripides was misogynist or proto-feminist. Certainly Ancient Athens would not be a place where you'd find a sympathetic hearing for feminism, and I've read at least one critic allege that any feminist subtext we find in these plays are an overlay from our modern sensibilities--and another allege that actually his portrayal of woman was savage and satirical. I can only tell you that I felt Euripides wrote women with sympathy and understanding, and at least in his surviving plays, it's striking to me how many of the title protagonists are women. Maybe it's simply that he was too great a playwright to make complete caricatures of them, with enough layers to allow different reads. As with Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, which was Hitler's favorite play, but one also memorable for its soaring cry of common humanity in its, "Doth not a Jew bleed?" There's a passage that reminds me of that in Medea, where the chorus complains of how poets have depicted women, and hope for a day when women will sing out and the old portraits "of frail brides and faithless shall be shriveled as with fire." His portrait of the suffering of women in war in The Trojan Women is notable in it's empathy. Read Euripides and decide for yourself--he's definitely worth knowing.
Review: Euripides: The Complete Plays Volume IVUser Review - Goodreads
Reading Bacchae to freshen up -- been a while since college.
Euripides and the Athenian Theater of His Time
A Note on the Translation
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