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By J. Michael Walton

In contemplating the perform and thought of translating Classical Greek performs into English from a theatrical point of view, present in Translation additionally addresses the broader problems with shifting any piece of theatre from a resource right into a goal language. The background of translating classical tragedy and comedy, the following totally investigated, demonstrates how during the a while translators have, wittingly or unwittingly, appropriated Greek performs and made them mirror socio-political issues in their personal period. Chapters are dedicated to subject matters together with verse and prose, masks and non-verbal language, degree instructions and subtext and translating the comedian. one of the performs mentioned as 'case reports' are Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus and Euripides' Medea and Alcestis. The ebook concludes with a attention of the bounds among 'translation' and 'adaptation', via an appendix of each translation of Greek tragedy and comedy into English from the 1550s to the current day.

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Extra resources for Found in Translation: Greek Drama in English

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Way manages the line with eleven words to Euripides’ nine and Jane’s thirty-five, but ‘How? Avaunt the story, ancient! 23 Lady Lumley’s translation may show lapses both of judgement and of concentration but, at its best, the sheer simplicity and directness bring Historical Perspectives 33 their own dramatic power. ’25 The issue of whether or not she had access to the Erasmus version seems little more than a distraction. Almost certainly she did. Even if she made extensive use of it; even if she simply translated Erasmus direct from the Latin into English; even if she had no access to the original Greek at all, her Iphigenia is still an original and remarkable piece of work.

The opening stage direction Enter Alcander, Diocles and Pyracmon (all from Pierre Corneille’s Oedipe, produced at the Hoˆtel de Bourgogne in 1659) leaves the reader under no illusions here. Eurydice and Haemon both put in an appearance before Oedipus turns up with Adrastus, King of Argos, in tow whom he has just defeated in battle. In the next act a stage direction Oedipus Enters, walking asleep in his shirt, with a Dagger in his right hand, and a Taper in his left leaves one wondering whether 38 Found in Translation Dryden was embellishing Davenant’s Macbeth, rather than rediscovering the classics.

In translation for the stage there is a real difference between the presentation of the work of the writer in a different language and the re-presentation of that work through the artistic intervention of a director. Drama as a collaborative art is frequently concerned with re-creation, the re-interpretation of a classic text. In fifth-century Athens this was not so, the playwright being unable to guarantee anything more than his single performance on a single occasion. This does make Greek tragedy, and translating Greek tragedy, something of a special case.

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