Euripides: 'Helen'

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Euripides, William Allan
Cambridge University Press, Feb 21, 2008 - Drama - 371 pages
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This up-to-date edition offers a detailed literary and cultural analysis of Euripides' Helen, a work which arguably embodies the variety and dynamism of fifth-century Athenian tragedy more than any other surviving play. The story of an exemplary wife (not an adulteress) who went to Egypt (not to Troy), Euripides' 'new Helen' skilfully transforms and supplants earlier currents of literature and myth. The Introduction elucidates Euripides' treatment of Helen and sets the play in its wider intellectual context. It also discusses questions of genre and reception, rejecting such descriptions as 'tragicomedy' or 'romantic tragedy', and showing how later artists have responded to Euripides' unorthodox heroine and her phantom double. The Commentary's notes on language and style are intended to make Helen fully accessible to readers of Greek at all levels, while the edition as a whole is designed for use by anyone with an interest in Greek tragedy.
  

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About the author (2008)

Euripides was born in Attica, Greece probably in 480 B.C. He was the youngest of the three principal fifth-century tragic poets. In his youth he cultivated gymnastic pursuits and studied philosophy and rhetoric. Soon after he received recognition for a play that he had written, Euripides left Athens for the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia. Fragments of about fifty-five plays survive. Among his best-known plays are Alcestis, Medea and Philoctetes, Electra, Iphigenia in Tauris, The Trojan Women, and Iphigenia in Aulis Iphigenia. He died in Athens in 406 B.C.

William Allan is McConnell Laing Fellow and Tutor in Classical Languages and Literature at University College, Oxford.

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