The Oresteia

The Oresteia

Paperback

By (author) Aeschylus, Translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Translated by H.L. Jones

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  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 282 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 215mm x 15mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 25 September 1997
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0715616838
  • ISBN 13: 9780715616833
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

The most famous series of ancient Greek plays, and the only surviving trilogy, is the "Oresteia of Aeschylus", consisting of the "Agamemnon", "Choephoroe" ('Libation Bearers') and "Eumenides" ('Kindly Ones'). These three plays recount the murder of Agamemnon by his queen Clytemnestra on his return from Troy with the captive Trojan princess Cassandra; the murder in turn of Clytemnestra by their son Orestes; and Orestes' subsequent pursuit by the Avenging Furies (Eumenides) and eventual absolution.There has been no shortage of translations and adaptations of the "Oresteia", but such are the poetic complexities of Aeschylus' language and the remoteness of the world he depicts that they mostly fall far short of either the literal meaning or the spirit of the original. This translation by an eminent scholar stays as close to the text as English idiom will allow and is perfectly adapted to the student's needs. Notes elucidate the difficulties, and introductions to each play set the trilogy against the background of Greek religion as a whole and Greek tragedy in particular, presenting a true assessment of Aeschylus' dramatic art.

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Author information

Hugh Lloyd-Jones is Regius Professor of Greek Emeritus, University of Oxford

Review quote

'By far the best translation. Faithful to the original Greek text and eminently readable. The notes constitute a commentary in their own right' Albert Henrichs, Harvard University. 'Hugh Lloyd-Jones's translation stands out very much from any other. The notes are first class and scholarly' Jeffrey Rusten, Cornell University

Editorial 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. (Kirkus Reviews)