'The Complete Sophocles (Volume I): The Theban Plays
By Peter Burian (Editor), Alan Shapiro (Editor)
'The Complete Sophocles (Volume II): Electra and Other Plays'
By Sophocles (Author), By Peter Burian (Editor), Alan Shapiro (Editor)
Based on the conviction that only translators who write poetry themselves can best re-create the celebrated and timeless tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the Greek Tragedy in New Translations series offers new translations that go beyond the literal meaning of the Greek in order to evoke the poetry of the originals. The tragedies collected here were originally available as single volumes. This new collection retains the informative introductions and explanatory notes of the original editions, with Greek line numbers and a single combined glossary added for easy reference.
Volume I: This volume collects for the first time three of Sophocles most moving tragedies, all set in mythical Thebes: Oedipus the King, perhaps the most powerful of all Greek tragedies; Oedipus at Colonus, a story that reveals the reversals and paradoxes that define moral life; and Antigone, a touchstone of thinking about human conflict and human tragedy, the role of the divine in human life, and the degree to which men and women are the creators of their own destiny.
Volume II: The volume brings together four major works by one of the greatest classical dramarists: Electra, translated by Anne Carson and Michael Shaw, a gripping story of revenge, manipulation, and the often tense conflict of the human spirit;Aias, translated by Herbert Golder and Richard Pevear, an account of the heroic suicide of the Trojan war hero better known as Ajax; Philoctetes, translated by Carl Phillips and Diskin Clay, a morally complex and penetrating play about the conflict between personal integrity and public duty; and The Women of Trachis, translated by C.K. Williams and Gregory W. Dickerson, an urgent tale of mutability in a universe of precipitous change. These four tragedies were originally available as single volumes. This new volume retains the informative introductions and explanatory notes of the original editions and adds a single combined glossary and Greek line numbers.
Sophocles (/ˈsɒfəkliːz/; Greek: Σοφοκλῆς, Sophoklēs, Ancient Greek: [so.pʰo.klɛ̂ːs]; c. 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC) is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides. Sophocles wrote 120 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, The Women of Trachis, Oedipus the King, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus. For almost 50 years, Sophocles was the most celebrated playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens that took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia. He competed in 30 competitions, won 18, and was never judged lower than second place. Aeschylus won 14 competitions, and was sometimes defeated by Sophocles, while Euripides won 5 competitions.
The most famous tragedies of Sophocles feature Oedipus and also Antigone: they are generally known as the Theban plays, although each play was actually a part of a different tetralogy, the other members of which are now lost. Sophocles influenced the development of the drama, most importantly by adding a third actor, thereby reducing the importance of the chorus in the presentation of the plot. He also developed his characters to a greater extent than earlier playwrights such as Aeschylus.