Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Oresteia (Modern Plays) by Rory Mullarkey (Adapter), Aeschylus (Author) (Methuen Drama)

The translator (E. D. A. Morshead) was an Oxford don active in the late Victorian period. At the time Oxford had a more than a fair share of eccentric academics, but comments by his students indicate that he was a standout in this academic sub-species.. No small accomplishment given the competition including other luminaries such as the Rev. Spooner, eponymous unwitting progenitor of the 'Spoonerism!' Morshead's translations of Aeschylus are rendered in a late Latin-ate high Victorian style employing an archaic and often obscure vocabulary as well as a contorted prose style. The cumulative effect results in a translation that makes for painful reading at best, and is often all but incomprehensible! Pity his poor students. Not recommended except for insomniacs seeking a cheap alternative to Ambien or some other sleep-inducing nostrum. Though in my opinion ;they would be far better served by a good 'tot' or two of brandy!

Aeschylus (/ˈiːskᵻləs/ or /ˈɛskᵻləs/; Greek: Αἰσχύλος Aiskhulos; Ancient Greek: [ai̯s.kʰý.los]; c. 525/524 – c. 456/455 BC) was an ancient Greek tragedian. He is also the first whose plays still survive; the others are Sophocles and Euripides. He is often described as the father of tragedy: critics and scholars' knowledge of the genre begins with his work, and understanding of earlier tragedies is largely based on inferences from his surviving plays. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in theater to allow conflict among them, whereas characters previously had interacted only with the chorus.

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