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Prometheus Bound (Greek Tragedy in New Translations) [Paperback]

by Aeschylus, James Scully, C. John Herington
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1, 1990 0195061659 978-0195061659 Reprint
For readers accustomed to the relatively undramatic standard translations of Prometheus Bound, this version by James Scully, a poet and winner of the Lamont Poetry Prize, and C. John Herington, one of the world's foremost Aeschylean scholars, will come as a revelation. Scully and Herington accentuate the play's true power, drama, and relevance to modern times. Aeschylus originally wrote Prometheus Bound as part of a tragic trilogy, and this translation is unique in including the extant fragments of the companion plays.

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Prometheus Bound (Greek Tragedy in New Translations) + Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae + Anthology Of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation : with Additional Translations by Other Scholars and an Appendix on Linear B sources by Thomas G. Palaima
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Editorial Reviews


"I love the introduction, translation, and notes. Very well informed and stimulating."--John Lenz, Drew University

"The notes and introduction are excellent and the translation itself is clear and effective."--E. Christian Kopff, University of Colorado

"A fine translation."--Betty Nye Quinn, Mount Holyoke College

"Glossary and appendix very helpful. I like the remarks on staging in the introduction."--Patricia P. Matsen, University of South Carolina

"It would be hard to fault this extremely forceful translation, cogent introduction and helpful notes - I look forward to tackling other works in this series."--Jan Gorais, University of Denver

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation)

Product Details

  • Series: Greek Tragedy in New Translations
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; Reprint edition (February 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195061659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195061659
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Modern Translation October 3, 2001
This is a stunningly modern translation of The Prometheus Bound. James Scully, the poet-translator, has done the impossible, he's turned one of the world's oldest dramas into a can't-put-it-down pageturner. If you've never read the Prometheus or read it and found it dull and archaic, read this translation. Additionally, there's a fascinating discussion at the end of what territory the next two plays in the Prometheus trilogy probably covered and this includes all the fragments of the other two plays that have been found. It was a great loss to Western Civilization when the rest of the trilogy failed to survive the Dark Ages for all the fragments hint that, where the play we have is pure defiance, Prometheus as the lone rebel against tyranny, the trilogy as a whole was about reconciliation, the ability for irreconciliable opposites to come to terms with each other without surrender or compromise. Still, even without that, the play we have gives an overwhelming image of the unbreakable human spirit and that alone makes it well worth reading. Prometheus Bound in a good translation is a must read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly easy to grasp translation... November 10, 2006
I always find the prospect of reading ancient literature daunting, but this play was very easy to understand. I would definitely recommend this as a supplement for those studying ancient Greek Mythology. It really added depth to my understanding of Prometheus, Zeus and the mind set of the Ancient Greeks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prometheus Bound: Captivating February 15, 2010
Title: Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, translated by James Scully and C. John Herington

Pages: 117 total. The play itself consists of about 54 pages.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: A year or two.

Days spent reading it: 1 day.

Why I read it: I actually liked the Greek tragedies we read in High School. I also think that Prometheus is an interesting character, so I thought this play might be interesting.

Brief review:
I really liked this play. In the beginning of the story Prometheus is bound by Hephaistos to a rock to serve as his punishment for giving mankind fire. Prometheus has a number of conversations with people as they wander by in their travels. These make up the major movements of the play.

The themes of his conversations include: Suffering, usurping power, tyranny, human culture, hope, civil disobedience, restoration, fate, brute force vs. cunning thought, and a host of other themes.

Some interesting elements about Prometheus in Greek mythology:

Prometheus is the god who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humanity. Fire seems to also include self awareness and human culture, because that's what else Prometheus claims to have given to mankind. Prometheus also claims mankind once foresaw their own deaths, but that he overcame their visions by giving them the gift of hope.

Prometheus Bound is apparently a part of a trilogy. We only have scraps from what was perhaps the sequel, Prometheus Unbound. It is a shame that we will never see the full story arch that Aeschylus prepared for Prometheus.

I enjoyed this short play. If you enjoy Greek drama, this is a must read. If you do not appreciate Greek drama, this one will probably not warm your hearts to it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It came alive October 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn't think I'd enjoy reading a play or even understand such an old piece but this translation was so easy to follow. I saw everything as I read it.
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6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it June 16, 2002
Don't spend the extra money for this translation. Buy the Dover Thrift edition. You get the same story for a buck or two, and this translation is nothing spectacular.
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