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In considering the practice and theory of translating Classical Greek plays into English from a theatrical perspective, Found in Translation, first published in 2006, also addresses the wider issues of transferring any piece of theatre from a source into a target language. The history of translating classical tragedy and comedy, here fully investigated, demonstrates how through the ages translators have, wittingly or unwittingly, appropriated Greek plays and made them reflect socio-political concerns of their own era. Chapters are devoted to topics including verse and prose, mask and non-verbal language, stage directions and subtext and translating the comic. Among the plays discussed as 'case studies' are Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus and Euripides' Medea and Alcestis. The book concludes with a consideration of the boundaries between 'translation' and 'adaptation', followed by an appendix of every translation of Greek tragedy and comedy into English from the 1550s to the present day.
Reviews & endorsements
"This work will be useful for anyone interested in drama, classics, theater history, or translation theory. Highly recommended."
- ChoiceSee more reviews
"Walton's approach is to bring gales of fresh air into the most abstruse areas...[he] has been a pioneer in ensuring that discussions of drama translation take account of the nature of performance, not just the nature of language...The result is by any standards a mighty achievement of scholarship.
-Lorna Hardwick, Arion
"Walton moved effortlessly over a vast and complex field. The book is direct and engaging in its approach and is a thoroughly 'good read' which will appeal widely outside the classical and theater studies...essential reading in the field for some years to come.
"The well-known scholar and translator, J. Michael Walton, has produced an engaging, comprehensive, and rewarding journey through the quagmire of English translation of ancient Greek drama...An invaluable resource as well as fascinating and entertaining reading."
-Katherine B. Free, Text and Presentation, 2007; The Comparative Drama Conference Series, 4
"[Walton's] book is packed with useful, accurate, and sometimes surprising information, including an extraordinarily conscientious appendix listing ‘All Greek Plays in English Translation’. The main body of the work is a series of studies of exemplary difficulties – the language of the Agamemnon, the non-verbal ‘language’ of gesture and action, the terms turannos and daimon in Oedipus Tyrannus, the rendition of deceit and duplicity, the difference in cultural values affecting the representation of women...the book is full of fine details, good anecdotes, and telling quotations."
-Adrian Poole, Trinity College, Cambridge, Translation and Literature
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- Date Published: March 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521102896
- length: 332 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
- weight: 0.49kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: 'Summon the Presbyterians'
1. Finding principles, finding a theory
2. Historical perspectives: Lumley to Lennox
3. Aeschylus and the Agamemnon: gilding the lily
4. Translating the mask: the non-verbal language
5. Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus: words and concepts
6. Text and subtext: from bad to verse
7. Euripides' Medea and Alcestis: from sex to sentiment
8. The comic tradition
9. Modernising comedy
10. When is a translation not a translation?
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