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3 Plays: Helen / Orestes / Phoenician Women…

3 Plays: Helen / Orestes / Phoenician Women

by Euripides

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These updates by translator David Kovacs to the Loeb Classical Library renditions of Euripides' Helen, The Phoenician Women and Orestes read very well. I haven't read the versions they replaced, but somewhere on the 'Tubes I recall reading something to the effect that the A. S. Way Euripides translations were fairly dire, and something the Loebs needed to supplant ASAP.

Apologies to Mr. Way if that's an overstatement. Anyhoo, the LCL has done a good job here. I had no particular reason for starting with Volume 5, apart from the fact that I'd heard ages ago that Orestes was a pretty messed-up play, and 'messed-up' is a surefire descriptor to pique ol' Peerts's interest.

I did not find Orestes to be _particularly_ aberrant -- though it was intriguing that other characters in this play treat Orestes' visions of the Erinyes/Eumenides as just that -- visions, rather than actual entities. Apparently the play constructs its own vivid and peculiar version of the events succeeding Orestes' slaying of his mother and Aegisthus -- perhaps this is what puts it in the 'messed up' slot.

Greek tragedy is not an area where I claim any expertise. I've read a number of the familiar plays: Oedipus, the Oresteia, etc., The Bacchae. The three plays in this volume are interesting for the myths they relate or just kind of make up. I found The Phoenician Women particularly enjoyable, since it filled in some of the holes in my knowledge of the story of Antigone. Good notes and introductions. ( )
  tungsten_peerts | Jan 12, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674996003, Hardcover)

Euripides has been prized in every age for the pathos, terror, surprising plot twists, and intellectual probing of his dramatic creations. In this fifth volume of the new Loeb Classical Library Euripides, David Kovacs presents a freshly edited Greek text and a faithful and deftly worded translation of three plays.

For his Helen the poet employs an alternative history in which a virtuous Helen never went to Troy but spent the war years in Egypt, falsely blamed for the adulterous behavior of her divinely created double in Troy. This volume also includes Phoenician Women, Euripides' treatment of the battle between the sons of Oedipus for control of Thebes; and Orestes, a novel retelling of Orestes' lot after he murdered his mother, Clytaemestra. Each play is annotated and prefaced by a helpful introduction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:38 -0400)

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