Bacchae: A New Translation by Robin Robertson; A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde by Lavinia Greenlaw; The Last Days of Troy by Simon Armitage - review by Edith Hall

Edith Hall

Greek Chic

Bacchae: A New Translation

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Vintage Classics 128pp £12 order from our bookshop

A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde

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Faber & Faber 217pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The Last Days of Troy

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Faber & Faber 137pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

The ancient Greeks refuse to go away. The appearance of a new novel, play or opera on a Greek theme has become almost a weekly occurrence. In each of these three publications, the relationship with ancient literature takes a different form. But all three works recycle narratives about Greek heroes whose actions were first described in Bronze Age poems dating from as early as the second millennium BC. God, death, love, war, sex and family, in Mycenaean Thebes or Troy, remain as stimulating to literary and theatrical creativity as ever. 

Euripides’s Bacchae is one of the most powerful poems in Greek literature, a fitting homage to its protagonist, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, theatre and wild rhythmic songs that induce ecstatic dancing. It is one of the hardest texts in Western literature to translate. The astute Scottish poet Robin Robertson

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