Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.

O&P's Current Pick:

Forging the Sampo

Odious' Links:

The Little Bookroom
The Pumpkin King
Larissa Archer
Inverted Iambs
Eve Tushnet
Pamela Dean
Kambodia Hotel
Pen and Paper

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary
Deep-Sea News
NASA's Mars Website
Classics Online
Perseus Digital Library

Nine Scorpions
The Blithe Kitchen
Letter from Hardscrabble Creek
Arts & Letters Daily
About Last Night



Chas Clifton's Nature Blog
Rock Art Photo Blog
Girl on a Whaleship
Nature Lyrics Languagehat
Jabal al-Lughat
Laputan Logic
Strange Maps
Vladimir Dinets: Polymath Russian Adventurer
Virtual Tour of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aerial Landscape Photography
USGS Earth As Art
Panoramic Aerial Maps of the American West

The Internet Bird Collection
Bird Families of the World
Ancient Scripts
The Aberdeen Bestiary Project
The Cephalopod Page
The Ultimate Ungulate
The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
USGS Streamflow Data

Worthy Miscellany
Finno-Ugrian Music
Boojum Expeditions
American River Touring Association

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Monday, June 22, 2009
Having failed miserably to supply content in Peculiar's absence, I shall send at least one charming discover our readers' way: Anne Carson's An Oresteia. Aeschylus' Oresteia is the only complete trilogy of plays we have from the Greeks, and so it takes a certain amount of sand to translate only his Agamemnon, and follow it up with Sophocles' Elektra and Euripedes' Orestes. She really only hits her stride with Sophocles, but all three plays are solidly done, and all have moments of brilliance. Her Cassandra I found moving; and the end of it all, Euripedes' mad tragi-comic wrap of an impossible mess, was perfectly toned.

She does tend towards simplicity in language, even when the original is deliberately vague. But this is less a fault if we imagine her plays performed--and they are clearly written with that in mind. For sheer dramatic potential, I'll take her translation over any other I've encountered.

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I've been reading her book. Fine job.
I like the way that her Elektra becomes a smart, mouthy teenager, as in the "Orestes":

An unlucky house is an impotent thing.
Known fact.
And Orestes is her brother newly home from college, with a scraggly goatee and opinions about Life.
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