The Tenth Muse: Classical Drama in Translation

The Tenth Muse: Classical Drama in Translation

The Tenth Muse: Classical Drama in Translation

The Tenth Muse: Classical Drama in Translation

Excerpt

I thought, rather than writing the usual sort of introduction to an anthology of classical plays in translation, that it would be useful for me instead to go into some of the reasons that led me to assemble this collection in the first place. Some of the questions that I'd been asking myself when I first started thinking about this book: why another anthology of plays in translation? how can I make the one I have in mind interesting and appealing? and bring people into the enterprise who under the usual circumstances that obtain in the ever-shrinking world of Classical Philology would never have dreamed or been asked to become involved? Even to begin answering these questions (assuming, that is, it's my obligation) involves me in two other areas: the nature of classical drama and the art of translation. These are matters of recurring interest; they concern more than myself and the contributors to this volume. So in that sense they do deserve some attempt at explanation. Yet I find myself almost unable to believe that by doing this I've even begun exploring and mapping out the central concerns and patterns of this anthology. Certain things, I'm convinced, will make themselves evident, if they're at all well- done (as I believe the translations in this volume are) or else not at all. Yet my hope is that by supplying even partial answers to these questions, I will leave myself and my readers in some way better off: better informed about what we're both getting into in this book.

To make a beginning: Anyone, especially if he or she has read an ancient play or two has an idea what it is--a poem for the theater, with long speeches; quirky, weighted repartee formally exhanged between the . . .

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