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Greek Tragic Style: Form, Language and Interpretation Hardcover – 10 May 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521848903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521848909
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 988,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'Rutherford's book … fills a sizable gap in scholarship. … Becuse he has translated all the Greek that he copiously quotes, anyone with an interest in the subject can enjoy the riches of the book.' Choice

'The value of R.'s work lies in the fact that it puts its finger decisively on many important topics and provides ample stimulus for further debate. Its clarity and rigour of presentation are hard to fault, its discussions of individual passages are satisfyingly complex and thoughtful, and above all it is a timely reminder of the importance of treating tragedy as poetry.' Matthew Wright, The Classical Review

Book Description

Greek tragedy is widely read and performed, but outside the commentary tradition detailed study of the poetic style and language of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides has been relatively neglected. This book seeks to fill that gap by providing an account of the poetics of the tragic genre.

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The book that I always wanted to read on Classical tragedy: a thoroughgoing study of how the language of these plays is built. I am a tremendous fan of the Greek tragic corpus, and though I have only the most rudimentary understanding of Classical Greek, the clarity of the translations, attention to the expressive import of linguist detail, and my familiarity with the terminology (if not the language to which it was being applied) made this an absolutely fascinating read. Rutherford's wide-ranging references to other scholars, the engaging nature of his writing style, and his foregrounding of the cultural context of the plays he is examining all make for a thrilling book, apt to heighten one's appreciation of this wonderful dramatic repertoire, so remote in time, yet so fascinating perhaps for the very reason. One never have the sense that Rutherford is an apologist for the ancientness of these plays. Their strangeness to the modern mind, the need to approach them with an understanding of contemporary thought (in so far as we can recover such an understanding) is always to the fore, and one comes away (and back again, very often) with excited new eyes and ears for these plays.

'Form, Language, and Interpretation.' The subtitle is apt. The large-scale architecture of the plays, the speeches, the stories considered, the interlocking detail of the wording that is used, its rhetorical structure and its versification, and the relevance of all of these to the plays as dramatic theatrical utterances appear in perfect balance, one or more moving to the front every now and then but never being allowed to eclipse the others. A wonderful scholarly and critical achievement. Deserves to be thoroughly praised.
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