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The Bacchae - Euripides

The Bacchae

By: Euripides, Robin Robertson (Transcribed by)


Published: 6th February 2014
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Published: 6th February 2014
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A bold new translation of this shockingly modern classic work by Forward Prize-winning poet, Robin Robertson

to worship him on the mountain, drinking and dancing in wild Bacchic frenzy. The king, Pentheus, is furious, denouncing this so-called ‘god' as a charlatan, an insurgent – but no mortal can deny a god and no man can ever stand against Dionysus. How the god exacts his terrible revenge, drawing Pentheus to his own destruction, is as devastating now as it was in the fifth century BC. This stunning translation, by the award-winning poet Robin Robertson, reinvigorates Euripides' masterpiece for contemporary readers, bringing the ancient verse to fervid, brutal life.
Euripides is thought to have lived between 485 and 406 BC. He is considered to be one of the three great dramatists of Ancient Greece, alongside Aeschylus and Sophocles. He is particularly admired by modern audiences and readers for his characterization and astute and balanced depiction of human behaviour. Medea is his most famous work. Robin Robertson is from the north-east coast of Scotland. He is the author of three collections of poetry: A Painted Field (1997), winner of the 1997 Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection), the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize and the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award; Slow Air (2002); and Swithering (2006). He is also the editor of Mortification: Writers' Stories of their Public Shame (2003). In 2004, he was named by the Poetry Book Society as one of the 'Next Generation' poets, and received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Robin Robertson's third poetry collection, Swithering (2006), was shortlisted for the 2005 T. S. Eliot Prize and won the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year). In 2013 Robin Robertson was awarded the Petrarca-Preis. He lives and works in London.

"'Euripides's Bacchae is one of the most powerful poems in Greek literature...one of the hardest texts in Western literature to translate. The astute Scottish poet Robin Robertson has already shown with his Medea, published in 2008, that he can translate Euripides into chiselled English poetry ripe for theatrical delivery. Bacchae is even better. In the choral odes, sung by the titular Bacchants, he has radiantly evoked the ritual solemnity, supported by assonance and percussive drive, that makes these sung poems so otherworldly. The dialogue is taut, volcanic and often exquisitely beautiful... Euripides deserves to have his exquisite verse transformed into modern speech, and in Robertson I believe he has found a poet who can do that. This translation cries out for realisation by multiple voices on radio or in live theatre" -- Edith Hall Literary Review "Robin Robertson is the great Euripides translator of our time. The clarity and power of his Medea is unmatched, and his Bacchae is just as direct, unhindered and fluid, perfect for revealing such madness." -- David Vann "I can recommend the clarity of the translation...Robertson maintains a robust and exuberant style. It's time to brush up on our Greek theatre and here's a stunning chance" -- Grace Cavalieri Washington Independent Review of Books "The purpose of translation is to set a play free. This is just what Robin Robertson does. In his lucid, free-running verse, Medea's power is released into the world, fresh and appalling, in words that seem spoken for the first time." -- Anne Enright "The greatest works demand constant re-translation to meet the changing culture of the age, and Robin Robertson has given us a Medea fit for our times; his elegant and lucid free translation of Euripides' masterpiece manages the trick of sounding wholly contemporary but never merely 'modern' - and will be an especially lucky discovery for those encountering the play for the first time." -- Don Paterson

ISBN: 9780099577379
ISBN-10: 0099577372
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 128
Published: 6th February 2014
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.4 x 12.8  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.25
Edition Number: 1