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Helen

ISBN-10: 0521545412
ISBN-13: 9780521545419
Edition: 2008
List price: $44.99 Buy it from $29.86
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Description: This up-to-date edition offers a detailed literary and cultural analysis of Euripides' Helen, a work which arguably embodies the variety and dynamism of fifth-century Athenian tragedy more than any other surviving play. The story of an exemplary  More...

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Book details

List price: $44.99
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 2/11/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 386
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.95" tall
Weight: 1.254
Language: English

This up-to-date edition offers a detailed literary and cultural analysis of Euripides' Helen, a work which arguably embodies the variety and dynamism of fifth-century Athenian tragedy more than any other surviving play. The story of an exemplary wife (not an adulteress) who went to Egypt (not to Troy), Euripides' 'new Helen' skilfully transforms and supplants earlier currents of literature and myth. The Introduction elucidates Euripides' treatment of Helen and sets the play in its wider intellectual context. It also discusses questions of genre and reception, rejecting such descriptions as 'tragicomedy' or 'romantic tragedy', and showing how later artists have responded to Euripides' unorthodox heroine and her phantom double. The Commentary's notes on language and style are intended to make Helen fully accessible to readers of Greek at all levels, while the edition as a whole is designed to be of use to anyone with an interest in Greek tragedy.

Euripides, one of the three great Greek tragedians was born in Attica probably in 485 B.C. of well-to-do parents. In his youth he cultivated gymnastic pursuits and studied philosophy and rhetoric. Soon after he received recognition for a play that he had written, Euripides left Athens for the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia. In his tragedies, Euripides represented individuals not as they ought to be but as they are. His excellence lies in the tenderness and pathos with which he invested many of his characters. Euripides' attitude toward the gods was iconoclastic and rationalistic; toward humans-notably his passionate female characters-his attitude was deeply sympathetic. In his dramas, Euripides separated the chorus from the action, which was the first step toward the complete elimination of the chorus. He used the prologue as an introduction and explanation. Although Euripides has been charged with intemperate use of the deus ex machina, by which artifice a god is dragged in abruptly at the end to resolve a situation beyond human powers, he created some of the most unforgettable psychological portraits. Fragments of about fifty-five plays survive; some were discovered as recently as 1906. Among his best-known plays are Alcestis (438 B.C.), Medea and Philoctetes (431 B.C.), Electra (417 B.C.), Iphigenia in Tauris (.413 B.C.), The Trojan Women (415 B.C.), and Iphigenia in Aulis Iphigenia (c.405 B.C.). Euripides died in Athens in 406. Shortly after his death his reputation rose and has never diminished.

Introduction
Euripides and Athens
The figure of Helen in early Greek culture
Helen on stage
The 'New Helen'
The production
A tragedy of ideas
Genre
Helen transformed
The text and its transmission
Helen
Commentary

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