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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best version to perform!
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...
Published on August 19, 2012 by Doc

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable, but(t).....?
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...
Published on September 17, 2007 by Amazon Customer


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable, but(t).....?, September 17, 2007
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This review is from: Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best version to perform!, August 19, 2012
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This review is from: Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually funny, April 18, 2012
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This review is from: Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Sarah Ruden's translation of Lysistrata, September 16, 2008
This review is from: Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) (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. To further compound her "general reader" aim, Ruden does not shy from dropping F-bombs and other sexually-graphic lines into her text; there goes the idea that this publication might be intended to grab the interest of high schoolers, who would otherwise yawn through the play. The graphic language would have it banned from any school. Beyond that Ruden does a good job explaining the esoteric jokes in her footnotes. Aristophanes wrote and lived in a different world than ours, so most of his jokes and references are nonsensical for us in the modern day. Ruden capably holds our hand through the more arcane sections, providing useful suggestions and interpretations for scenes that still have scholars scratching their heads.

As for the play, the setup is promising: tired of the endless war between Sparta and Athens, Lysistrata, a young Athenian woman, talks her fellow women (both in Athens and in Sparta) into withholding sex from their warring husbands. The objective: the men will become so sexually frustrated that they will agree to any terms their wives demand; the terms, of course, will be instant peace between the two countries. Any writer could come up with a wealth of plots from this idea, but again, Aristophanes was writing long in the past. Rather than the wacky comedy a modern-day audience would expect, the play instead consists of protracted arguments between the men's chorus and the women's chorus. Only one setpiece seems to me modern: when Lysistrata and her fellow conspirator Myrrhine tease and toy with the already-about-to-blow Cinesias, Myrrhine's husband.

Ruden rounds out the book with a few essays on Greek history. Again, these are written with the "general reader" in mind, and again it's a poor idea. Most who would pick this up will already have a grounding in the history and culture in which it was written, so Ruden's essays don't offer much new food for thought. The book itself looks good though, an eye-scalding pink, with a reproduction of a Norman Lindsay illustration for the cover (taken from his series of illustrations for Jack Lindsay's 1920 Lysistrata translation).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had so much fun reading this!, December 5, 2013
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This review is from: Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) (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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5.0 out of 5 stars nice book, June 18, 2014
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This review is from: Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
it is an interesting book to read. I used it for my history class, and I had a great time reading and analyzing it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Translation, February 10, 2013
Interesting translation of Lysistrata. Very earthy, perhaps too much so for less than adult readers. Nevertheless, a rather accurate translation of this classic.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars crude, July 31, 2013
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I did not care for the language, however the concept of the play was amazing given the time it was written.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What????, April 26, 2013
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The language in this is atrocious. It's been modernized to the point that the language, which features slang and such from what I can determine to be around the 1960's and 1970's era is so distracting that it just makes the play harder to read and takes away from the feeling of a Greek play.
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Lysistrata (Hackett Classics)
Lysistrata (Hackett Classics) by Aristophanes (Paperback - March 1, 2003)
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