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text 2020-03-05 22:18
New Project: Ides of March...and all of April
Classics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) - Mary Beard,John Henderson
Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations - Mary Beard
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome - Mary Beard
Frogs and Other Plays - Aristophanes,David B. Barrett,Shomit Dutta
The Persians and Other Plays - Aeschylus,Alan Sommerstein,Alan H. Sommerstein
Medea and Other Plays - John Davie,Euripides,Richard Rutherford
The Oresteia: Agamemnon / The Libation Bearers / The Eumenides - Aeschylus,Robert Fagles,William Bedell Stanford

Having finished three underwhelming books in a row, I need something good.

 

While I will also pick up Woolf's A Room of One's Own (in celebration of having my flat back after the window-fitting has finished) and have high hopes for that one, I'm also hankering for some reads about Ancient Greece and Rome.

 

I'll leave it to your opinion whether this was inspired by starting to read Mary Beard's Confronting the Classics, but let's say that I've had a lot of fun spending time in Ancient Greece last August and have been wanting to embark on a similar project for some time. 

 

So, while I'm getting an introduction to Classics provided by Mary Beard, I'll kick off the project on the Ides of March with a read of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar followed by as many of the listed titles I can get to all the way through April. 

And as many of these are also on my physical shelves, this should tie in nicely with my 2020 Mt. TBR Project.

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review 2020-02-24 09:05
The Frogs
Frogs and Other Plays - Aristophanes,David B. Barrett,Shomit Dutta

(Please Note: I've only read The Frogs so far, which was included in the Little Black Classics)

 

All year I've been reading one of the Little Black Classics each week, with different levels of success. Going into The Frogs, I has no idea what to expect.

It turned out to be a play (I like plays), and as such a Greek comedy. I've in school studied some Greek theater, but these were always the famous tragedies. So, I was very glad to see a comedy that also survived the times.

Dionysus is looking for a poet in order to motivate the Athenians but unfortunately al good playwrights have died, so he has to travel to the underworld and fetch one. When he arrives he happens upon both Euripides and Aeschylus who are fighting over who is the better poet. Dionysus will have to make the decision.

The play is silly. But so are all (good) comedies. I have to say I liked reading it a lot. It had a modern feel to it (for as far as possible, because the Chorus remains a strange thing to me), with fourth-wall-breaks and a commentary on plays in general I would almost consider post-modern. What also helped, I'm sure, is that the translation felt modern. (I'm wondering how much of the original the translator sacrificed for readability).

Either way, it was a witty play with a Chorus of Frogs, and I was thinking, if they are putting on this play, I would definitely like to see it.

~Little Black Classics #101~

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review 2019-08-27 16:32
Lysistrata and Other Plays, Aristophanes
Lysistrata and Other Plays - Alan H. Sommerstein,Aristophanes

Lysistrata

 

For me the least funny but most interesting of the three plays in this volume. It's full of the same sexual humour as the others and equally preposterous. It's examination of sexual politics is more interesting than its plea for peace with Sparta (perhaps partly because the latter is treated more thoroughly in The Archanians, anyway). It seems that many things have not changes in nearly 2,500 years... One of them appears to be that perceived hairlessness (of women's bodies) was considered more attractive, then as now. I've often wondered if that has been a pan-cultural, pan-historical trend and, if so, whether it is a deep-rooted instinct that has led to evolution away from other, full-on furry, primate species? Odd thing to end up thinking about because of an old Greek drama, but there you go!

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text 2019-08-20 16:19
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 241 pages.
Lysistrata and Other Plays - Alan H. Sommerstein,Aristophanes

Lysistrata persuades the others to join the strike. Meanwhile, the older women have occupied the Acropolis and locked out the men.

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text 2019-07-19 17:30
Reading progress update: I've read 133 out of 241 pages.
Lysistrata and Other Plays - Alan H. Sommerstein,Aristophanes

The Clouds

 

This time Aristophanes turns his satirical wit on the Sophists, as exemplified by none other than Socrates himself! The new education, based on - sophistry! - and the lack of belief in the traditional pantheon of gods are the prime targets.

 

It turns out that the surviving text is an unfinished revision of the play. This may be a factor in why I didn't like it as much as The Archarnians, or it might be that it's simply because I have a lot of sympathy for the Sophists' viewpoint on several matters. Either way, I didn't think it was as funny...

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