Two Faces of Oedipus: Sophocles' oedipus Tyrannus and Seneca's oedipus

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Cornell University Press
Publish Date
6.3 X 8.92 X 0.66 inches | 0.81 pounds
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About the Author

Frederick Ahl is Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Cornell University, and is the translator of Seneca's Medea, Phaedra, and Trojan Women, all from Cornell, and of Virgil's Aeneid. He is active in the theater, and has directed numerous performances of Greek and Roman tragedies both in the United States and in Greece.


"Among the dozens of translations of the Oedipus tragedy available, very few provide the kind of close, elegant reading this one does, for both staging and teaching. Ahl recreates the authentic political and religious context for the often erroneously channeled Freudian take on the old identity vehicle, while paying scrupulous attention to the original language.... This is a new rendering for a new generation."

"Elegant, polished, easily readable and--no mean feat--performable, Frederick Ahl's versions of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus--and Seneca's Oedipus--are likely to advance to the forefront of modern translations of these plays and to point the way for future work. Ahl is laudably clear and nontechnical. His book addresses the needs of college and university instructors and will appeal to general readers and stage professionals as well."

--Martin M. Winkler, George Mason University

"Our view of Oedipus Tyrannus, the finest of all Greek tragedies, has been colored by Renaissance reception of the Senecan Oedipus, much better known until a couple of centuries ago. Frederick Ahl has successfully freed Sophocles' play from modern 'interference' as well as from Freudian misapprehension and error. He has also gone a long way toward placing Oedipus Tyrannus in its original political and religious context, and makes a case for seeing Oedipus as a product of Augustan Rome. The translations are superb: close, and not merely literal, but literate. A landmark in scholarship."

--Michael Vickers, University of Oxford