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Acharnians. Knights [Hardcover]

Aristophanes , Jeffrey Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1998 Loeb Classical Library (Book 178)

Aristophanes of Athens (ca. 446–386 BCE), one of the world's greatest comic dramatists, has been admired since antiquity for his iridescent wit and beguiling fantasy, exuberant language, and brilliant satire of the social, intellectual, and political life of Athens at its height. He wrote at least forty plays, of which eleven have survived complete. In this new Loeb Classical Library edition of Aristophanes, Jeffrey Henderson presents a freshly edited Greek text and a lively, unexpurgated translation with full explanatory notes.

The general introduction that begins Volume I reviews Aristophanes' career and brings current scholarly insights to bear on the intriguing question of the comic poet as a political force. In Acharnians a small landowner, tired of the Peloponnesian War, magically arranges a personal peace treaty and, borrowing a disguise from Euripides, demonstrates the injustice of the war in a contest with the bellicose Acharnians. Also in this volume is Knights, perhaps the most biting satire of a political figure (Cleon) ever written.


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Review

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)

From the Back Cover

English translation. A corrected and slightly revised translation of Acharnians into contemporary form. 
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Acharniansis a comedy about the ordinary farmer Dicaeopolis, evacuated from his land and pressed into service in the Peloponnesian War. Read the first page
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By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The Loeb Classical Library features the original Greek texts that remain for both of these comedies by Aristophanes and is obviously of great benefit to those who actually read Greek and are interested in playing with the translation in the hopes of arriving at a better understanding of these plays, their author and the time in which they were performed. The "Acharnians" is one of the earliest extant plays of Aristophanes, the winner of first prize at the festival when it was produced in 425 B.C. Dicaeopolis, a farmer tired of a war he considers to be stupid, decides to make an individual peace with the Spartans. However, before he can celebrate his private treaty, which allows him to trade for goods lacked by those in Athens, he is attacked by a chorus of Acharnian charcoal burners who support the war. The centerpiece of the comedy is Dicaeopolis's speech arguing the causes of the war are pretty stupid. This seriocomic speech, which is a parody of "Telephus" by Euripides, wins over half the chorus. Of course the other half immediately attacks them in a violent agon. The general Lamachus is called in to help, but Dicaeopolis destroys him with cutting arguments as well, and the chorus is united at the end to delivery Aristophanes's parabasis. Meanwhile, Discaeopolis has a drinking contest to attend, while Lamachus is sent back to the war. Pacificism and the folly of war are two recurring themes in the comedies of Aristophanes and both are explicit in the "Acharnians." It is also a good example of the standard format of a Greek comedy, at least as represented by the works of Aristophanes, including the giant party at the end.
The Knights," produced in 424 B.C., is clearly an all-out attack on Cleon, the leader of Athens after the death of Pericles.
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By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The "Acharnians" is one of the earliest extant plays of Aristophanes, the winner of first prize at the festival when it was produced in 425 B.C. Dicaeopolis, a farmer tired of a war he considers to be stupid, decides to make an individual peace with the Spartans. However, before he can celebrate his private treaty, which allows him to trade for goods lacked by those in Athens, he is attacked by a chorus of Acharnian charcoal burners who support the war. The centerpiece of the comedy is Dicaeopolis's speech arguing the causes of the war are pretty stupid. This seriocomic speech, which is a parody of "Telephus" by Euripides, wins over half the chorus. Of course the other half immediately attacks them in a violent agon. The general Lamachus is called in to help, but Dicaeopolis destroys him with cutting arguments as well, and the chorus is united at the end to delivery Aristophanes's parabasis. Meanwhile, Discaeopolis has a drinking contest to attend, while Lamachus is sent back to the war. Pacificism and the folly of war are two recurring themes in the comedies of Aristophanes and both are explicit in the "Acharnians." It is also a good example of the standard format of a Greek comedy, at least as represented by the works of Aristophanes, including the giant party at the end.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gimme another translation, man Jan. 16 2008
By A Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This review is for the Focus Classical Library version of three Aristophanes plays: Acharnians, Lysistrata and Clouds. The good news is that they are not bowdlerized. The bad news is that the translator, Jeffrey Henderson, got way too funky and hip (ie, dated) with his translation. Characters say "man" and use words like "gimme", "wanna" and "a__hole". Some of this kind of thing is appropriate, especially in "Clouds", but the translator is trying so hard to be wacky that it becomes a major distraction. A large sum of money is refered to as "a million bucks" and so on. A good example of one way in which a translation can go awry.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Give it a rest, not the best Nov. 11 2013
By uc force fed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This translation is beyond raunchy. I've read modern translations, such as the MIT version. Crudeness is to be expected. The play was clearly stylized to be a raunchy and humorous staging of the competing schools of thought over the war, but this author is waaaaayyyy off base. After reading MIT's first, I read this garbage. Only then is it obvious just how much this guy misses. His preface spends time explaining why he leaves stuff out, and why he has "modernized" the profanity. His product is nothing short of dorky (like the old guy trying to use hip words/phrases to seem in touch...only the words/phrases haven't been used in 30 years...) and excessively uncouth. He makes awkward translations that are annoyingly base, and omits details and characters he deems "unimportant" including references to Greek deities which clearly shouldn't have been removed.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two comedies by Aristophanes in Greek and English May 10 2002
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Loeb Classical Library features the original Greek texts that remain for both of these comedies by Aristophanes and is obviously of great benefit to those who actually read Greek and are interested in playing with the translation in the hopes of arriving at a better understanding of these plays, their author and the time in which they were performed. The "Acharnians" is one of the earliest extant plays of Aristophanes, the winner of first prize at the festival when it was produced in 425 B.C. Dicaeopolis, a farmer tired of a war he considers to be stupid, decides to make an individual peace with the Spartans. However, before he can celebrate his private treaty, which allows him to trade for goods lacked by those in Athens, he is attacked by a chorus of Acharnian charcoal burners who support the war. The centerpiece of the comedy is Dicaeopolis's speech arguing the causes of the war are pretty stupid. This seriocomic speech, which is a parody of "Telephus" by Euripides, wins over half the chorus. Of course the other half immediately attacks them in a violent agon. The general Lamachus is called in to help, but Dicaeopolis destroys him with cutting arguments as well, and the chorus is united at the end to delivery Aristophanes's parabasis. Meanwhile, Discaeopolis has a drinking contest to attend, while Lamachus is sent back to the war. Pacificism and the folly of war are two recurring themes in the comedies of Aristophanes and both are explicit in the "Acharnians." It is also a good example of the standard format of a Greek comedy, at least as represented by the works of Aristophanes, including the giant party at the end.
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars The study of the Greeks reveals . . . Dec 31 2013
By thomas b. kass - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
many aspects of Western Culture. In the history of the West one can find themes and characters that are with us all today
10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Whoah now, Mr. Henderson Feb. 8 2010
By S. Nezat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I have many of Aristophanes' works in several translations, but was required to buy this one for a different class last semester. I was looking forward to a translation with a "fresh" perspective, but I guess I wasn't quite prepared.

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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