A collection of eight plays along with accompanying critical essays. Includes: "The Oresteia" - Aeschylus; "Prometheus Bound" - Aeschylus; "Oedipus the King" - Sophocles; "Antigone" - Sophocles; "Medea" - Euripides; "The Bakkhai" - Euripides; "Oedipus" - Seneca; "Medea" - Seneca.
Mary Beard, drawing on thirty years of teaching and writing about Greek and Roman history, provides a panoramic portrait of the classical world, a book in which we encounter not only Cleopatra and Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Hannibal, but also the common people--the millions of inhabitants of the Roman Empire, the slaves, soldiers, and women. How did they live? Where did they go if their marriage was in trouble or if they were broke? Or, perhaps just as important, how did they clean their teeth? Effortlessly combining the epic with the quotidian, Beard forces us along the way to reexamine so many of the assumptions we held as gospel--not the least of them the perception that the Emperor Caligula was bonkers or Nero a monster. With capacious wit and verve, Beard demonstrates that, far from being carved in marble, the classical world is still very much alive.
The literary influence of alchemy and hermeticism in the work of most medieval and early modern authors has been overlooked. Stanton Linden now provides the first comprehensive examination of this influence on English literature from the late Middle Ages through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Drawing extensively on alchemical allusions as well as on the practical and theoretical background of the art and its pictorial tradition, Linden demonstrates the pervasiveness of interest in alchemy during this three-hundred-year period. Most writers -- including Langland, Gower, Barclay, Eramus, Sidney, Greene, Lyly, and Shakespeare -- were familiar with alchemy, and references to it appear in a wide range of genres. Yet the purposes it served in literature from Chaucer through Jonson were narrowly satirical.
In literature of the seventeenth century, especially in the poetry of Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, and Milton, the functions of alchemy changed. Focusing on Bacon, Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, and Milton -- in addition to Jonson and Butler -- Linden demonstrates the emergence of new attitudes and innovative themes, motifs, images, and ideas.
The use of alchemy to suggest spiritual growth and change, purification, regeneration, and millenarian ideas reflected important new emphases in alchemical, medical, and occultist writing. This new tradition did not continue, however, and Butler's return to satire was contextualized in the antagonism of the Royal Society and religious Latitudinarians to philosophical enthusiasm and the occult. Butler, like Shadwell and Swift, expanded the range of satirical victims to include experimental scientists as well as occult charlatans. The literary uses of alchemy thus reveal the changing intellectual milieus of three centuries.
The date of Beowulf, debated for almost a century, is a small question with large consequences. Does the poem provide us with an accurate if idealized view of early Germanic culture? Or is it rather a creature of nostalgia and imagination, born of the desire of a later age to create for itself a glorious past? If we cannot decide when, between the 5th and 11th centuries, the poem was composed, we cannot distinguish what elements in Beowulf belong properly to the history of material culture, to the history of myth and legend, to political history, or to the development of the English literary imagination.
This book represents both individual and concerted attempts to deal with this important question, and presents one of the most important inconclusions in the study of Old English. The contributors raise so many doubts, turn up so much new and disturbing information, dismantle so many long-accepted scholarly constructs that Beowulf studies will never be the same: henceforth every discussion of the poem and its period will begin with reference to this volume.
This remarkably low-priced anthology brings together five of the greatest, most studied, and most performed Greek tragedies, each in an outstanding translation:
- Oedipus Rex and Electra by Sophocles (translated by George Young), in which the much-admired playwright explores the individual's search for truth and self-knowledge
- Medea and Bacchae by Euripides (translated by Henry Hart Milman), favorites with modern audiences for their psychological subtlety and the humanity of their characters
- Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (translated by George Thomson), a monumental work that examines relations between humans and the gods
These masterpieces of world literature represent the very apex of Greek drama and are essential for both the home library and the classroom.
Reflections on a lost poem and its rediscovery by contemporary poets
Gilgamesh is the most ancient long poem known to exist. It is also the newest classic in the canon of world literature. Lost for centuries to the sands of the Middle East but found again in the 1850s, it tells the story of a great king, his heroism, and his eventual defeat. It is a story of monsters, gods, and cataclysms, and of intimate friendship and love. Acclaimed literary historian Michael Schmidt provides a unique meditation on the rediscovery of Gilgamesh and its profound influence on poets today.
Schmidt describes how the poem is a work in progress even now, an undertaking that has drawn on the talents and obsessions of an unlikely cast of characters, from archaeologists and museum curators to tomb raiders and jihadis. Fragments of the poem, incised on clay tablets, were scattered across a huge expanse of desert when it was recovered in the nineteenth century. The poem had to be reassembled, its languages deciphered. The discovery of a pre-Noah flood story was front-page news on both sides of the Atlantic, and the poem's allure only continues to grow as additional cuneiform tablets come to light. Its translation, interpretation, and integration are ongoing.
In this illuminating book, Schmidt discusses the special fascination Gilgamesh holds for contemporary poets, arguing that part of its appeal is its captivating otherness. He reflects on the work of leading poets such as Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, and Yusef Komunyakaa, whose own encounters with the poem are revelatory, and he reads its many translations and editions to bring it vividly to life for readers.
Professor Dihle sees the Greek and Latin literature between the 1st century B.C. and the 6th century A.D. as an organic progression. He builds on Schlegel's observation that art, customs and political life in classical antiquity are inextricably entwined and therefore should not be examined separately. Dihle does not simply consider narrowly defined literature', but all works of cultural socio-historical significance, including Jewish and Christian literature, philosophy and science. Despite this, major authors like Seneca, Tacitus and Plotinus are considered individually. This work is an authoritative yet personal presentation of seven hundred years of literature.
Contains a remarkable array of dramatic works by four of the ancient Greek world's leading dramatists, including Agamemnon and Eumenides by Aeschylus; Sophocles's Oedipus the King, Antigone, and Philoctetes; Euripides's Medea, Hippolytus, and Trojan Women, and The Frogs by Aristophanes. Reissue.
Professor Lattimore, holding closely to the original metres, has produced renderings of great power and beauty. His feeling for the telling noun and verb, the simple yet poignant epithet, and the dramatic turn of syntax is marked. He has completely freed the poems from sentimentality, and the thrilling ancient names--Anacreon, Alcaeus, Simonides, Sappho--acquire fresh brilliance and vitality under his hand.--Louise Bogan, The New YorkerThe significant quality of Mr. Lattimore's versions is that they are pure. The lenses he provides are as clear as our language is capable of making them.--Moses Hadas, N.Y. Herald Tribune