Acharnians. Knights Hardcover – Oct 1 1998
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Henderson's sound texts and plain translations give us exactly the Aristophanes we need: a reliable prose waiting to be quickened into poetic life by the reader's imagination, laughter, and amazement. (Donald Lyons New Criterion)
Henderson, who may fairly be considered the leading Aristophanic scholar in North America, has now...provided us with both a useful text and idiomatic...translation. It is certainly a work that scholars may use with confidence and may recommend to their students. (Ian C. Storey Bryn Mawr Classical Review)
Henderson's translation keeps close to the Greek, but successfully manages to indicate something of Aristophanes' linguistic diversity; it has been carried off with admirable crispness...A highly welcome addition to the Loeb Library. (Stephen Halliwell Greece and Rome)
It is accordingly a pleasure to note the appearance of the first of what will be four new Loeb volumes of Aristophanes this is an important edition of a major Greek author and an absolute "must-buy" for all college and university libraries. (S. Douglas Olson Classical World)
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The Knights," produced in 424 B.C., is clearly an all-out attack on Cleon, the leader of Athens after the death of Pericles.Read more ›
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The Knights," produced in 424 B.C., is clearly an all-out attack on Cleon, the leader of Athens after the death of Pericles. As related by Thucydides, earlier that year Cleon had induced the Spartans to propose peace. Consequently, Aristophanes opens the comedy with two slaves of the crotchety old Demos ("the people of Athens") dressed up to resemble the generals Demosthenes and Nicias. The two slaves complain about how everyone is picking on Paphlagon, a leather seller who is the favorite of Demos and clearly intended to be Cleon. The oracles tell that Paphlagon is going to be replaced by a sausage seller named Agoracritus. "The Knights" is a second-tier comedy by Aristophanes because it is devoted entirely to making fun of Cleon. Consequently, Aristophanes makes his point early on and by the time Agoracritus the sausage seller beats Cleon at this own game, the comic dramatist is beating a dead horse all the way into the ground. This comedy always struck me as being like a SNL skit that lasts the entire show. In the end Demos, rejuvenated by being stewed in a plot by Agoracritus, takes control and declares he will abolish all innovations and restore the old traditions.
This translation does its best to be current, but it really tries too hard. The plays are rife with weird slang and unnecessary cursing that really detracts from the plays. In some parts the plays are downright vulgar. I am well aware that these were far from chaste plays in their heyday, but I think Jeffrey Henderson went a little too far in an effort to shock his readers, rather than provide historical accuracy. All in all, if you're looking for a novel perspective on Greek theater you may find this captivating. If you are looking for one good copy of Aristophanes' works, keep looking.
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