David R. Slavitt and Palmer Bovie, editors
The classical Greek plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander are among the most cherished and influential literary works of all time. Last December, the University of Pennsylvania Press began publication of the first three volumes of the Penn Greek Drama Series: spirited literary translations of the corpus of classical Greek drama - the tragedies, comedies and satyr plays. Since then, six more volumes have appeared, with the remaining three slated for bookshelves in May 1999.
This is the first complete translation of the entire body of classical Greek drama to appear in print in more than 50 years. The goal of the series is to provide fresh, readable and actable versions of these plays for the contemporary audience.
The series is noted for the talent represented among the translators, including acclaimed writers Eleanor Wilner, Henry Taylor, Carolyn Kizer and Paul Muldoon. Those few translators who were not familiar with the original language worked closely with classicists. The result is a series of comprehensible and passionate translations that faithfully return the reader to the motivations, rhythms and high-drama of the ancient plays.
The series has received accolades from across the country:
The reviewer for The New York Times noted the "superb translation of 'Medea' by Eleanor Wilner...[and] an 'Andromache' that, in Donald Junkins's translation, manages to be both lovely and dignified." The San Francisco Chronicle praised the series for "avoiding anything jarringly contemporary or self-consciously colloquial. Directness, vivid imagery, and rhetorical music prevail in different cadences."
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Originally published on October 29, 1998