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Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) Paperback – March 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0872206038 ISBN-10: 0872206033

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Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Paperback: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872206033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872206038
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A perfect Lysistrata for the new millennium: rich apparatus and a sparkling, metrical, accurate translation of this inexhaustible treasure of a play. --Rachel Hadas, Rutgers University



Presents a readable, clear translation with the assistance students will need to understand this play and the society that produced it. . . . A worthy addition to Hackett's growing series of translations of classical literature in accessible editions. --Anne Mahoney, New England Classical Journal

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Customer Reviews

Very earthy, perhaps too much so for less than adult readers.
Ann B. Keller
Ruden's thorough footnotes provide helpful context for the jokes that don't translate as well, and the commentary in the back is worth a read.
Magpie
No doubt because Aristophanes himself is glib, not to mention vulgar - something Ruden does not shy from, thankfully.
Joe Kenney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neither the creaky and surprisingly prudish anonymous translation published by Dover Thrift Editions nor the profanity-laden, anachronistic but highly readable translation by Sarah Ruden is the perfect classroom edition of Lysistrata. Between the two, I guess I'll start teaching Ruden's version, especially since the footnotes and other apparatus are genuinely scholarly and indicate where liberties are taken.

But is the language Ruden chooses really the modern equivalent of how Aristophanes would have sounded to 5th-Century BCE ears? Visually, the play is inescapably bawdy, but is Aristophanes' dialog really so much the equivalent of today's stand-up comedians who "work blue" and use strings of low-minded profanity instead of clever innuendo to be amusing?

Personally, I prefer the Dudley Fitts translation, which seems to strike just the right balance between high-tone literal and "urban" street-talk. Unfortunately, the Fitts translation seems to be unavailable in an inexpensive, single-title edition. Any chance Dover might get the rights to it and retire their stilted anonymous translation?

[...].
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doc on August 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading five other translations, I chose Ruden's translation to direct at our local community theatre. Yes, it was profane and bawdy but it was the most "performable" of all the translations I read. The footnotes and essays helped actors (and the director) to "get it" and the colloquial language made it accessible to contemporary audience members and those who are just reading the script. The actors and audience loved it! My favorite version...fun and scholarly!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sutter on April 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Having read a few different translations of this play recently while preparing to teach it to undergraduates in politics (and having read a couple of others long ago), I can say this is the only one that actually made me laugh. Maybe it helps that I'm American, so that some of the English slang or dialect humor in other translations (e.g. David Stuttard's, Alan Sommerstein's) left me cold; and while Jeffrey Henderson's Loeb version is a huge improvement over its predecessor in that series, it is dry by comparison. I think it's hopeless to judge a translation by how it would have sounded to 5th or 4th Century BCE ears, since we cannot justifiably presume to know; the footnotes and even the essays do give some helpful context, though. I wasn't entirely won over by the essays, it's true. Ruden does mention several times that she's not an historian, and it shows, especially in the one about democracy, which seemed a bit shallow or condescending in spots. The very good essays by Stuttard, Sommerstein and others in "Looking at Lysistrata," edited by Stuttard, might be more helpful if you're teaching this work or just want to know more about its situation and times. But this translation is one you should read.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joe Kenney on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I loathed Sarah Ruden's translation of the Aeneid (see my review of Frederick Ahl's magisterial translation for the nitty gritty), but this was much better. I'm sure it's because Aristophanes is more along Ruden's métier. Early blurbs for her Aeneid translation went on about how Ruden had gutted the "machismo" of Virgil's epic; hardly what you'd want for an accurate or even an enjoyable translation of the Aeneid. (It would be similar to a bunch of Hollywood hacks planning a film version of the Iliad: "Hey guys, this thing's been around for millennia, it's a founding stone of Western culture, but you know what, we could do it better - let's remove the gods from the story!...And Brad Pitt can star in it!")

Ruden's translation of the Aeneid sacrificed Virgil's grandeur and "machismo" for brevity and glibness. I found it a failure, but here she applies the same principles more successfully. No doubt because Aristophanes himself is glib, not to mention vulgar - something Ruden does not shy from, thankfully. I did find some of her translation-choices a bit strange; several times the more literal reading of the text Ruden provides in the footnotes works better than her actual translation. It seems Ruden has at times "dumbed down" the text, perhaps in the hopes that it could be read by the general audience. This is madness. What "general" reader in today's day and age would just happen to pick up Lysistrata? This sort of material is only read by those with a hearty interest in history or the classics; translating with the unwashed masses in mind is foolishness.

With that said, Ruden strives to retain Aristophanes' biting humor and R-rated dialog.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Magpie on December 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is by far my favorite translation of Lysistrata. It's rude, it's bawdy, and most importantly, it's readable. Ruden's thorough footnotes provide helpful context for the jokes that don't translate as well, and the commentary in the back is worth a read. Not a translation for the oversenstive, or for those that don't like their ancient literature "modernized."
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