Medea

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Cornell University Press, 1986 - Drama - 116 pages
4 Reviews

Ahl's translations of three Senecan tragedies will gratify and challenge readers and performers. With stage performance specifically in mind, Ahl renders Seneca's dramatic force in a modern idiom and style that move easily between formality and colloquialism as the text demands, and he strives to reproduce the richness of the original Latin, to retain the poetic form, images, wordplays, enigmas, paradoxes, and dark humor of Seneca's tragedies.

In this powerful and imaginative translation of Medea, Frederick Ahl retains the compelling effects of the monologues, as well as the special feeling and pacing of Seneca's choruses.

  

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Don't believe Google's description of this book - Frederick Ahl does not "retain the compelling effects" of Seneca's play. His translation is inaccurate to the original Latin, and he has a very bad habit of expanding a few lines of Latin into an entire, melodramatic page of English. This translation is not worth your money or your time. If you're looking for a good translation of Seneca, there are a few out there - Emily Wilson comes to mind - but Ahl, who clearly neither knows nor cares what the original Latin says, is not among them. 

Review: Medea

User Review  - Kat - Goodreads

What's not to like about a ferocious witch so bent on revenge, towards her cheating husband, that she murders her children then rides off into the sunset in a chariot pulled by dragons?! Greek plays ... Read full review

Contents

General Introduction
9
Introduction to Medea
35
Glossary
99
Copyright

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About the author (1986)

Seneca was born in Spain of a wealthy Italian family. His father, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (see Vol. 4), wrote the well-known Controversaie (Controversies) and Suasoriae (Persuasions), which are collections of arguments used in rhetorical training, and his nephew Lucan was the epic poet of the civil war. Educated in rhetoric and philosophy in Rome, he found the Stoic doctrine especially compatible. The younger Seneca became famous as an orator but was exiled by the Emperor Claudius. He was recalled by the Empress Agrippina to become the tutor of her son, the young Nero. After the first five years of Nero's reign, Agrippina was murdered and three years later Octavia, Nero's wife, was exiled. Seneca retired as much as possible from public life and devoted himself to philosophy, writing many treatises at this time. But in 65 he was accused of conspiracy and, by imperial order, committed suicide by opening his veins. He was a Stoic philosopher and met his death with Stoic calm. Seneca's grisly tragedies fascinated the Renaissance and have been successfully performed in recent years. All ten tragedies are believed genuine, with the exception of Octavia, which is now considered to be by a later writer. Translations of the tragedies influenced English dramatists such as Jonson (see Vol. 1), Marlowe (see Vol. 1), and Shakespeare (see Vol. 1), who all imitated Seneca's scenes of horror and his characters---the ghost, nurse, and villain.

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