Oedipus the King

ISBN-10: 0195054938
ISBN-13: 9780195054934
Edition: 1988
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Description: Based on the conviction that only translators who write poetry themselves can properly recreate the celebrated and timeless tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the Greek Tragedy in New Translations series offers new translations that  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.95
Copyright year: 1988
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/31/1988
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 7.99" wide x 5.39" long x 0.28" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

Based on the conviction that only translators who write poetry themselves can properly recreate the celebrated and timeless tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the Greek Tragedy in New Translations series offers new translations that go beyond the literal meaning of the Greek in order to evoke the sense of poetry evident in the originals. Under the editorship of Peter Burian and Alan Shaprio, each volume includes a critical introduction, commentary on difficult passages, ample stage directions, and a glossary of the mythical names and geographical references encountered in the dialogue. Sophocles' Oedipus the King paves the way as the first in the series to appear in paperback. In this highly-acclaimed translation of the greatest of all Greek tragedies, Stephen Berg--the well-known poet--and Diskin Clay--the distinguished classicist--combine their talents to offer the contemporary reader a dazzling version of Sophocles' timeless work. Emphasizing the intensity of the spoken language, they capture the unrelenting power of Sophoclean drama. No other English translation conveys the same terrifying emotional level, especially in the choral odes, the forceful descriptions of Jokasta's death, the blinding of Oedipus, and the final scene of desolation. Berg and Clay's translation--now available for the first time in paperback--both adheres strictly to the original meaning of the play and breathes new life into its language.

The Greek dramatist Sophocles, born to a wealthy family at Colonus, near Athens, was admired as a boy for his personal beauty and musical skill. He served faithfully as a treasurer and general for Athens when it was expanding its empire and influence. In the dramatic contests, he defeated Aeschylus in 468 b.c. for first prize in tragedy, wrote a poem to Herodotus (see Vol. 3), and led his chorus and actors in mourning for Euripides just a few months before his own death. He wrote approximately 123 plays, of which 7 tragedies are extant, as well as a fragment of his satiric play, Ichneutae (Hunters). His plays were produced in the following order: Ajax (c.450 b.c.), Antigone (441 b.c.), Oedipus Tyrannus (c.430 b.c.), Trachiniae (c.430 b.c.), Electra (between 418 and 410 b.c.), Philoctetes (409 b.c.), and Oedipus at Colonus (posthumously in 401 b.c.). With Sophocles, Greek tragedy reached its most characteristic form. He added a third actor, made each play independent---that is, not dependent on others in a trilogy---increased the numbers of the chorus, introduced the use of scenery, shifted the focus from religious to more philosophical issues, and brought language and characters, though still majestic, nearer to everyday life. His finely delineated characters are responsible for the tragedy that befalls them, and they accept it heroically. Aristotle (see Vols. 3, 4, and 5) states that Sophocles said he portrayed people as they ought to be; Euripides, as they are. His utter command of tragic speech in the simple grandeur of his choral odes, dialogues, and monologues encourages the English reader to compare him to Shakespeare (see Vol. 1).

Stephen Berg is the founder of "The American Poetry Review". He lives in Philadelphia.

Introduction
Oedipus the King
Preliminary Note
Notes on the Text
Glossary

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