cb wrote:hi, i suggest before you make your choice you read a great book called surviving greek tragedy. if the title repels you (as it did for me when i first saw it), having read it several times, you can understand the word "surviving" in the title to mean "the tragedy that's survived to our times", i.e. "extant", rather than "coming through tragedy with psychological wholeness" or some other modern idea that's beyond me. it goes through the different plays that have been popular/most commented at different points in the history from then to now and so may help you make your choice -- there are better ancient/byzantine/modern resources for some plays compared to others.
cb wrote:...there are better ancient/byzantine/modern resources for some plays compared to others...
Paul Derouda wrote:I have only read two tragedies in Greek myself, Aeschylus' Agamemnon and Euripides' Trojan Women. I haven't read any other even in translation, so I can't really contribute much as to which tragedy would be most interesting for you. But one thing to note is that the Greek of some tragedies is much more difficult than that of others. Usually they say Euripides is easiest and Aeschylus is hardest, and Sophocles somewhere between. At least for me this seemed true, I read Trojan Women in a couple of consecutive evenings with not much trouble, without any commentary. Agamemnon, on the other hand, was really, really hard. There was scarcely one single sentence that wasn't difficult, even with all sorts of help. Aeschylus can be seriously hard, unless you're pretty good in Greek. If what they say is true and Sophocles is easier, that's a serious reason to read him first. If I had known how difficult Agamemnon was, I would definitely have left it for later and read more easier tragedies first.
Paul Derouda wrote:On the other hand, if you're going to get a lot of help from your professor, that might be a good reason to pick something hard, to get maximum benefit!
Paul Derouda wrote:Hmm... This thread made wonder why I haven't read any Sophocles myself yet. I even have one completely untouched Loeb by Sophocles (actually precisely the one with Ajax, which is the first play in the book!). Maybe I'll start reading it myself! I don't know about this Loeb, but generally I think the new Loebs are great. Anyway, if you want discuss some passages with other people than your professor, post here and probably somebody will get interested.
Scribo wrote:The new loebs are by Lloyd-Jones, so of course they're phenomenal. The Aias has an absolutely phenomenal commentary by P Finglass but if you're just having trouble reading it I'm told the commentario cum translatio by Garvie (Aris and Phillips?) is a wonder, but that's second hand information. If you're set on the Aias (and why not?) then I suggest you try and get a copy of the latter.
Tragedy wise I'm basically exactly where I was last time this topic came up, all Sophocles and Aeschylus, slowly slowly making progress with Euripides but I generally can't stand him and really hate that I'm expected to have read them all. Awful poet for effeminate half men, Aristophanes got him right.
Aeschylus is a wonder, he writes like a man and reading the hepta I get the impression I'd very much like him at my back in a fight.
I think though that if you really want to do the Aias, do it, actually wanting to do something which make it much easier and its one hell of a play.
Scribo wrote:Yeah people seem to love it, I asked a student who used it and said it was very helpful and its on all the reading lists. The Aias seems to have been a popular commentary target though, I've noticed books by Stanford and Jebb too. Of course, how many of these are geared towards explicating the text for students and how many are meant for people working with the text is anyone's guess, though its always amusing to watch people complain that an OUP or CUP Orange isn't giving basic grammatical help, I swear some people are insanely self centred. There was one of those Tumblur blog thingies which was full of hilarious complaints.
So, I've cracked open my Sophocles again and started re-reading the Aias, I'm going to go back through Finglass too in case I'm missing too much, since my own notes might as well be in an obscure dialect of Chinese. I have forgot how wonderful this play is, I don't know I just love the use of language and just the overall...reaction it gets from me. Soph still doesn't topple Aeschylus for me though, but it really is rather good.
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