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Hesiod and Theognis Paperback – Aug 26 1976
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'This is a very welcome publication, an authoritative translation of a major greek author at a reasonable price. Essential reading for classicists' J. G. Hourie, Dept. of Classics, University of Edinburgh
' Readers who have no previous knowledge of Hesoid will find this an extremely accessible book, written in such a way that the non-specialist will be able to read, follow and enjoy these works. This is in part due to Professor West's excellent translations and partly due to his real and profound interest in his subject, which is further reflectd by a most informative and useful introduction.' The Greek Rreview
'So much better than the corresponding Penguin translation of Hesiod. The introduction is splendid.' P. Walcot, University College, Cardiff.
'The edition is admirably produced, mercifully free from misprints ... an edition with a stimulating Introduction, a very readable translation' JACT Review
'West ... has now produced fine translations of these poems into fresh, lively and eminently readable English. It must quickly establish itself as the translation for English-speaking readers.' Jennifer R. March, University College, London. Classical Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Very little is known about Hesiod and it cannot definitely be proved that the same man wrote both the Theogony and Works and Days. He probably lived in the eighth century BC (contemporary with Homer) in Boeotia on the Greek mainland.
Theognis lived and wrote chiefly in the sixth century BC. He came from Megara, probably the one on the Greek mainland, and was an aristocrat. There was a popular revolution, in which he lost his status and possibly his money. He appears to have been exiled and might have moved to Megara in Sicily. He had a friend called Kurnos, the son of Polypaos, an aristocrat like himself. to whom he wrote numerous poems.
Dorothea Schmidt Wender was born in 1934 in Ohio and graduated from Radcliffe College, and then went to the University of Minnesota and Harvard University. She has been Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Classics at Wheaton College, Massachusetts. Her publications include book reviews and scholarly articles.
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Top Customer Reviews
Next to it are the wonderful, engaging introductory essays, in which Professor Wender shows the most enchanting insight into the mentality and attitude of her poets, making them live on the page for us. It is unmistakeably the work of a specialist, yet it is pitched - successfully - at the ordinary reader. A person who knows nothing about the Classics will leave them not only having a clear and precise idea of the characters of Hesiod and Theognis, but having learned a considerable amount about what makes good poetry. If the translation shows the poetic gifts of a Fagles or Lewis, the introduction shows the critical eye of a truly great critic - a C.S.Lewis, a Matthew Arnold. Do not be misled by the reviewer who says that she "carps" at the Theogony; he is only showing his shock at the notion that someone might have different views from his own. Professor Wender's criticisms are justified, especially in view of her very insightful comparison of the literary quality of the THEOGONY and that of the WORKS AND DAYS. This is the model of what a paperback translation of a classic work should be.Read more ›
Above all else, however, Hesiod pays homage to Zeus. In page after page, the adulation that the author holds for the thunder god is unmistakable. There is no doubting as to who the "hero" of the poem is.
"Works And Days" can best be described as one of the earliest farmers almanacs in the western world. It is written as an "instruction manual for life" for his indolent brother, Perses. Throughout the work, Hesiod admonishes Perses on the subjects of ethics, self-control and moderation. He also writes on how to run a farm and when the best times to sail are. Later authors of this genre, such as Xenophon & Virgil, doubtlessly were inspired by Hesiod.
Theognis came a few centuries later than Hesiod, somewhere around 550 BC. His "Elegies" give a fascinating look at the transformation of Greek life in the 6th century. Slowly but surely, the Aristoi (the Greek ruling party) saw the erosion of its status, power & wealth. No longer were armies made up of the elite class; more and more, armies were comprised of hoplites, made up of working-class peasants. Along with the wartime duties went the justification (Arete) of the Aristoi's claim to power.Read more ›
In her introduction Wender goes on and on about how rotten a poem the "Theogony" is. She carps over this so much, that one wonders: if it's so bad, then why translate it? Because it is so bad, she argues, it could not have been written by the Hesiod who wrote the "Works and Days", because no poet who wrote good in one place could write so bad in another. Whether or not Hesiod wrote both pieces, Wender is being incredibly naive if she thinks that a good poet is consistently good. Whitman and Coleridge, great poets both, have some really sorry stuff in their body of work, but they wrote it all none the less. Anyway, I read the "Theogony," and liked it, so I don't know what Wender was complaining about. From the nature of her complaints (Hesiod didn't play up such-and-such incident, etc.) it looks like a 20th century individual unable to properly appreciate 8th century BC interests and poetics. I do agree with her that the "Works and Days" is a wonderful piece of poetry.
As for Theognis, he is uneven. Much of his stuff is pedestrian, although quite a bit is interesting, like "The city's pregnant, Kurnos, and I fear | She'll bear a man to crush our swelling pride," which is rather an acute and vivid description of how dictators grow out of mob rule.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I'd been meaning to read these texts for years, and the Penguin edition, including Theognis as well, is a good anthology. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2014 by dorothie22
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