Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book 112: The Oresteia and Book Stats.

Title: The Oresteia
Author: Aeschylus (A really long time ago. Wikipedia tells me he was born around 525 B.C. and died in 455 B.C.)

First Published: Again, wikipedia gives me a date of 458 B.C. as for when it was performed, but who really knows?
My Edition: Penguin Classics-Robert Fagles translation (pictured at right)
Pages: 336

Other Works Include: The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, the Suppliants, Prometheus Bound

I feel guilty for neglecting the ancient works on my list. I really do have a large number of them left. And it isn't that they are terrifying, but rather than I feel like I am diving into some really intense history.

I knew I wanted to read a piece that was new to me, and I remember quite a few bloggers raving about Aeschylus during the Classics Circuit tour, which is why it has been on my nightstand for months (much like Ceremony was). So now that it is dusted off, time to give the old Greek a go.

What is really interesting about this one is that it is a trilogy (the only complete set surviving). That is pretty cool (like a really early version of The Hunger Games? I should probably go hang my head in shame for comparing this to modern fiction, huh?). It is amazing we have these works at all, considering that many of them have been destroyed or lost as thousands of years have gone by!

I want to just mention that it seems like the Greeks and some other Ancients always appear "difficult." I don't think a lot of us jump in without acknowledging that we are reading pieces that are old. And I mean OLD. But in my experience reading old epics, like Homer, they are very accessible, especially with a great translator. I cannot rave enough about Robert Fagles. If he has translated a work, that is the edition I want. Anyway, the moral is: don't be scared of the old stuff. Most of it almost seems modern! They were scandalous people, those Greeks! :)


  1. I really enjoyed this when I read it. I have the same edition and Fagles definitely rocks it out, maintaining that fine line between ancient translation and modern verbage.

  2. I will try this one. I never tried books like this except for the ones translated into Arabic; may English will give it another feeling.

  3. But, but did you love it?! lol

  4. Comparing ancient Greek fiction with modern fiction is OK and what every teacher should do to make it at least sound interesting and accessible to students!