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Theseus (Hesperus Classics) [Paperback]

Andre Gide , Andrew Brown (translator) , Brian Aldiss (foreword)

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Book Description

29 Nov 2002 Hesperus Classics
Theseus, mythical hero of Athens, narrates his life story in an existential vacuum following the failure of his marriages, the death of his son, Hippolytus, his own famous exploits a distant memory. Tragedy punctuates this narrative, as it does his drama, Oedipus, also published here, both works elaborating through myth an unanswerable search for self.


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'As with most Greek legends, the story is highly tragic. The coupling of this story with a reduced stage version of Oedipus presents a cumulatively tragic picture, dealing with themes common to all literature: lust, selfishness, family life, heroism, and so on. Such themes, particularly those of heroic masculinity, were particularly relevant in the context of the book s first publication in 1946 the period of recovery after the Second World War. It s a short, readable interpretation of a great legend with a helpful introduction, which although tragic, is not overly so. A surprisingly good read.' --Good Books Magazine

'Gide's ancients are at once fey and steely, with a dash of anachronism, so that Oedipus preens: 'Some people can t help thinking, every time they come to a crossroads or get caught in a traffic jam, ''should I give way?...'' Whereas I always act as if advised by a god.' Oedipus indeed comes on like a salon pragmatist, whose motto is don t look back too much; equivocal advice in his situation. Andrew Brown's translation is at its best when characters skim knowingly over the mythic waters (Why do you come to bother me with these problems of kinship? If my sons are also my brothers I will simply love them even more). A sadder and wiser Oedipus appears in Gide's final novel, 'Theseus' (1946), when he runs into the roving Theseus at Colonus. Theseus has roamed the world, seduced Amazons and conquered the Minotaur in a rather woozy wrestling bout, and his final words are often taken to represent Gide s own summation of his career: 'For the good of future humanity I have completed my work. I have lived.'' --Plays International Magazine

From the Back Cover

He has played his role, as he had to; but he does not end with himself. This is what happens with heroes. Their gestures endure and, taken up by poetry and the arts, become a continuing symbol.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read 18 Dec 2011
By Jack Alan Robbins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Andre Gide was a major writer and thinker in his writings, and a great writer. This long essay is one of his best and most thought-provoking prompted by a Classical myth.
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