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Following E.F. Watling's 1953 translation of Ajax (Penguin), this new translation in free-flowing sprung rhythm by poet Pevear is a jewel for modern English readers. The scholarly critical introduction by Golder (classics, Boston Univ.) provides an excellent background and analysis of this tragedy, which was written around 450 B.C.E. When Aias, the most valiant Greek hero, discovers that dead Achilles' armor has been awarded by his comrades to his hated rival, Odysseus, he goes mad with jealousy and takes his own life. The suicide of the hero and the judgment of his family, friends, and enemies are the central theme. Chorus and soliloquy are used effectively to dramatize the progression of the plot and the mental state of the tragic hero. Stage directions are sparse. The numbered text, notes, and a glossary of geographical and mythical terms are helpful. Recommended for all academic and public libraries.AMing-ming Shen Kuo, Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"This book is a brilliant addition to a distinguished series. For the long iambic lines so often used to represent the meter of the original, Richard Pevear substitutes a sprung rhythm--three stressed syllables per line. The result is a great success, an easily speakable version....Herbert Golder's eloquent and incisive analysis of the play locates the controversial figure of Aias in the political and intellectual context of the Athenian fifth century and also explores those aspects of his character that make him unique among the Sophoclean tragic heroes."--Bernard Knox
"The beauty and power of this clear, clean version cannot be denied....poet Richard Pevear, writing in a style reminiscent of the spare, stoic, puritan power of Robert Lowell's famous translations, makes the work sing."--Booklist
"A jewel for modern English readers. The scholarly critical introduction by Golder provides an excellent background and analysis of this tragedy."--Library Journal