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Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) Reissue Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199538317
ISBN-10: 019953831X
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"This is a very welcome publication, an authoritative translation of a major greek author at a reasonable price. Essential reading for classicists."--J. G. Hourie, Dept. of Classics, University of Edinburgh


"Readers who have no previous knowledge of Hesoid will find this an extremely accessible book, written in such a way that the non-specialist will be able to read, follow and enjoy these works. This is in part due to Professor West's excellent translations and partly due to his real and profound interest in his subject, which is further reflectd by a most informative and useful introduction."--The Greek Rreview


"So much better than the corresponding Penguin translation of Hesiod. The introduction is splendid."--P. Walcot, University College, Cardiff


"...An edition with a stimulating Introduction, a very readable translation."--JACT Review


About the Author

Hesiod, the early Greek poet and rhapsode who presumably lived around 700 BCE, serves as a major source for knowledge of Greek mythology, farming techniques, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping. M.L. West is a Professor of Greek at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (July 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019953831X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538317
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Walter Jacob, IV on May 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's becoming clear that Amazon needs to separate the Kindle reviews from the other reviews. A previous reviewer noted that line numbers were not included in his/her edition, but if you are a potential buyer of a hard copy of this book you can rest your worried mind because the page numbers are indeed included in this edition, the only problem being that they are listed only at the top of the page so one has to count up or down to obtain a specific line number. It's not particularly important though, since there are only some 30 lines per page so it's fairly easy to guess your line if you are referring to the notes, which are helpful. Or if you are constantly flipping back and forth, you could always pencil the numbers in by, say, 10s. The translation itself is the best contemporary prose translation into English that I am aware of. In my opinion it does an excellent job of handling the language with a good amount of precision while maintaining its readability. Just my 2 cents.
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This version of the Hesiod classics has not been plumped up to carry the story over better but instead gives an accurate translation. This means that it may not be your best read ever but you get it how it was written.

For those that want it that was for research purposes etc, this is perfect. For those that want it filled out with story elements added from other sources (therefore potentilly for more entertainment) then this is not for you.

For me, I got what I wanted so happy.
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Format: Paperback
[Note, February, 2015: This review was originally posted in 2003 with Martin L. West's translation in the Oxford World's Classics series, but, as noted in the first paragraph, its reviews were mixed with reviews of another translation. At some point in the intervening years, Amazon "corrected" the problem by assigning the whole set of reviews to the other ”Penguin Classics” translation, and that translation only. Now that I have (at last) noticed this, I have decided to repost on the page originally intended. I have made a few revisions in order to make the review more up-to-date, but have not otherwise tampered with it.]

Some of the other reviews offered with M.L. West's translation of Hesiod's "Theogony" and "Works and Days" for the Oxford World's Classics actually refer [or referred] to Dorothea Wender's verse translation of the same works, plus a charming version of the collection of lyrics attributed to Theognis, published in the Penguin Classics. That is a worthwhile version -- although the joining of the peasant-oriented Boeotian Hesiod to the mainly aristocratic, and partly Athenian, "Theognis" corpus of songs and aphorisms is a little odd.

West's version of the two main Hesiodic poems is, however, in prose, and offers the latest in textual and historical scholarship -- although this is not very obviously on display. West, who has edited much (perhaps by now all) of the "Hesiodic" corpus, with substantial technical commentaries (along with a good deal of Homer and the "Homeric Hymns"), offers here his best reading of the two long poems which seem most firmly attributed Hesiod. (Although some, including Wender, would prefer two poets, in addition to the problem of interpolations).
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This was a very informative text. I learned a great deal about the Olympians and the Titans. It cleared up fuzzy details and introduced new entities. Recommended reading for all those interested in the myths and legends of ancient Greece.
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M.L. West has produced fine translations of Hesiod's "Theogony" and "Works and Days" into fresh, lively, and eminently readable English. West's translations are mainly in prose, and they the merit of being faithful to the original text while succeeding in conveying much of Hesiod's unique character and style. (As West himself says, "If I have sometimes made Hesiod sound a little quaint and stilted, that is not unintentional: he is.") The translations are preceded by a 15-page introduction which gives helpful information about the archaic Greek world and epic poetry in general, as well as discussing in more detail Hesiod himself and his two works, and the oriental influence which lies behind them. They are followed by 17 pages of explanatory notes providing excellent guidance towards following the text; these will prove particularly helpful to students who come to Hesiod for the first time. The notes on the "Theogony", for instance, will lead the student unacquainted with Greek myth unerringly through the labyrinth of Greek mythical names. And a useful bibliographical note points students towards further reading.

In sum, this compact edition has obviously been prepared with the needs of the translation student in mind, and it will fulfill those needs admirably. But it also has much to make it of value to the Classics student: sufficient background material to remind, and a vivid translation which constantly lures one to refer back to the Greek. It must quickly establish itself as the go-to translation for English-speaking readers.
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I love this book! It arrived it great shape and the in a timely manner.

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the development of Hellenic religion and beliefs. A must have for anyone interested in Greek culture.
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