9780374530075

The Burial at Thebes A Version of Sophocles' Antigone

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  • ISBN13:

    9780374530075

  • ISBN10:

    0374530076

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-11-03
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Summary

Sophocles' play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns that her brothers have killed each other, having been forced onto opposing sides of the battle. When Creon, king of Thebes, grants burial of one but not the "treacherous" other, Antigone defies his order, believing it her duty to bury all of her close kin. Enraged, Creon condemns her to death, and his soldiers wall her up in a tomb. While Creon eventually agrees to Antigone's release, it is too late: She takes her own life, initiating a tragic repetition of events in her family's history. In this outstanding new translation, commissioned by Ireland's renowned Abbey Theatre to commemorate its centenary, Seamus Heaney exposes the darkness and the humanity in Sophocles' masterpiece, and inks it with his own modern and masterly touch. Seamus Heaneyreceived the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He lives in Dublin and he regularly teaches at Harvard University. His many other books includeOpened Ground,Electric Light,Beowulf, andFinders Keepers. From one of our leading poet-translators comes this bold new exploration of a classical masterwork:Antigone. Sophocles' great play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, learns that her two brothers have killed each other, having been forced onto opposing sides of the battle. When Creon, the king of Thebes, grants burial of one but not the "treacherous" other, Antigone defies his order, believing it her duty to bury all of her close kin. Enraged, Creon condemns her to death, and his soldiers wall her up in a tomb. While Creon eventually agrees to Antigone's release, it is too late: She takes her own life, initiating a tragic repetition of events in her family's history. In this new translation, commissioned by Ireland's renowned Abbey Theatre to commemorate its centenary, Seamus Heaney exposes the darkness and the humanity present in Sophocles' drama, and inks these embattled forces with his own modern and masterly touch. "[Heaney has] composed a poem full of brilliant strokes . . . He varies his rhythms ingeniously."Garry Wills,The New York Times Book Review "[A] very speakable version . . . [This work] has the cool fire ofThe Cure at Troy, Heaney's 1990 version of Sophocles' Philoctetes."American Theatre "[Heaney has] composed a poem full of brilliant strokes . . . He varies his rhythms ingeniously."Garry Wills,The New York Times Book Review "In Heaney's version, the drama is a quick, taut, invigorating read that promises to play well on the stage . . . Heaney's vision of the ethical dilemma of ancient Thebes is lucidly rendered."Jamie James,Los Angeles Times "Heaney has fashioned a masterpiece . . . Its mastery lies [in its] searing speakability."William Mullen,The New York Sun "This book is another example of how lucky our language is to have Seamus Heaney working in it . . . He consistently adds as much to our knowledge of the original as he does to our view of our own age."Tom Payne,The Daily Telegraph "Heaney's reliance on the most basic, visceral elements of the original Greek in his translation emphasizes the utterly human element of the drama."Mary A. Brazelton,The Harvard Crimson "

Author Biography

Seamus Heaney received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He lives in Dublin and he regularly teaches at Harvard University. His most recent book is Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971-2000 (FSG, 2002).

Table of Contents

Praise for Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf :

"Heaney has created something imperishable and great that is stainless--stainless, because its force as poetry makes it untouchable by the claw of literalism: it lives singly, as an English language poem." --James Wood, The Guardian

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