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review
batsy
The Dyskolos | Menander
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Mehso-so

It doesn't seem right to rate a play that doesn't have its text fully intact/available, but Menander's sophisticated and supposedly more nuanced New Comedy made me miss Aristophanes's buffoonish, rambunctious, and wildly imaginative Old Comedy. Aristophanes's dad jokes had a sting to them. I read the translation by Norma Miller, titled Old Cantankerous, and it's basically like if Frasier's dad was the lead character in an ancient Greek play.

sarahbarnes 😂😂 1w
Ann_Reads So funny, Batsy. That would have been a play worth seeing. ❤ Frasier. Loved that series. 1w
Megabooks 🤣🤣 1w
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batsy @Ann_Reads Thanks 😁 Frasier was such fun. I just couldn't help thinking of it while reading this play! 1w
CarolynM 🤣 But does he have a cute dog? 1w
batsy @CarolynM Sadly, does not have his own Eddie 😂 1w
80 likes6 comments
review
CoveredInRust
The Dyskolos | Menander (of Athens.)
Pickpick

Short and funny. Glad this one was found in the 60s. Definitely recommend!

blurb
CoveredInRust
The Dyskolos | Menander (of Athens.)
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And now....Bastet and I will switch to classical.

review
batsy
The Frogs | Aristophanes
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Pickpick

The last I met Dionysus, he was a fearsome, wily figure in Euripides's masterpiece, The Bacchae. Lest I get too caught up in the grandeur & the outsized emotions of tragedy, Aristophanes sets out to set me right with The Frogs. In this comedy, we meet Dionysus the goof, who is tired of the Athenian tragedians & their pedestrian offerings, & wants to travel to Hades & bring the master, Euripides, back from the dead. As it turns out, Euripides too

batsy is a bit of a dunce. With one memorable chorus of frogs, & through a series of absurd tests, Euripides & Aeschylus compete to see which poet deserves to be resurrected. Plot twist: it's not who you think it is! Aristophanes goes off on the classical tragedians in this, but his special ire is reserved for Euripides. Tellingly, Dionysus's slave Xanthias comes off as the smartest, most lucid-thinking person around. I found this fresh, witty, & funny. 1mo
batsy I read the translation by David Barrett. 1mo
mabell In one of the Cat Who‘s, Qwill read the play to his cats, who loved the sound of the frogs. Pretty wild sounding on audio! I wondered what it looked like in print. 1mo
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Aimeesue Natalie Haynes did a great overview of Aristophanes on her podcast (NH Stands Up for the Classics.) I remember it vividly 😂 One of my favorite podcasts. 1mo
batsy @mabell The version I read it has it "translated" as "brekekekex, koax, koax!" ? But that's a fun fact. Is it a series you enjoy? I've always meant to check out at least a book or two but never got around to it. 1mo
batsy @Aimeesue Ooh! I did not know she had a podcast and that name is right up my street 😁 I'll be sure to check it out (and also her books; I quite enjoyed the short story she contributed to the new Marple anthology). 1mo
mabell That‘s about what it sounded like! 😂 I love the series - I‘m a Lilian Jackson Braun groupie. She was a brilliant writer. She took the simple format of the cozy, yet infused it with literature, theater, music, and information on a myriad of topics. George Guidall‘s audio really complements her stories, too. I definitely like some better than others, of course. 1mo
Aimeesue @batsy Enjoy! It's a lot of fun 1mo
batsy @mabell That sounds fab. Just like what I need at the moment so I'm reminding myself to check out the first one soon before I get distracted by other books! 1mo
mabell So to continue over-explaining 😆, the first five or so books are quite different in setting, as Qwill hasn‘t yet inherited the fortune and moved to Pickax (rural northeast central US.) They are part of Qwill‘s story, so if you would be interested in the whole series, I‘d say go ahead and start with 1. If you just want to sample, I‘d pick one more in the middle. For the last 3/4 of the books, the characters & locations are recurring (beloved 😄) 1mo
batsy @mabell Thank you for this explainer! It's been very helpful. I'll be sure to tag you when I give it a try 🙂 1mo
BiblioLitten @Aimeesue It is one of the best podcasts I have listened to. @batsy You‘d love it! 1mo
Aimeesue @BiblioLitten I am legit sad that I've listened to all the episodes. Consoling myself by listening to the You're Dead to Me podcast, which is history + humor, hosted by one of the Horrible History dudes. It's *almost* as good, though nobody's ever going to beat Haynes' recap of the Odyssey, imo. 😋 1mo
batsy @BiblioLitten That's great to know! 😁 @Aimeesue I've heard of that podcast, and it's another I'll add to my ever-growing list 😆 1mo
85 likes2 stack adds14 comments
review
batsy
The Bacchae | Euripides
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Pickpick

Strange, chilling, & brutal. Makes you think about what you're really doing when you think you're having a wild time 🙃 Makes me want to gather everyone in ancient society in a group hug because they were wrestling with the same demons as us—mental illness, the inscrutability of human actions, unexplained anguish & evil—& turning to the gods. This will be forever linked to Donna Tartt's The Secret History in my mind. Perfect for spooky October.

batsy I read the translation by William Arrowsmith. 2mo
murfman @batsy It's a brilliant piece isn't it? It is easy to see how the Bacchic Mystery cult was so prolific, and why Dionysus was so popular for so long. He was a god of contradictions, and the most communicable to people, and so he was used in everything. 2mo
murfman My preferred translation is the Gibbons & Segal, but Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian Nobel Laureate, did one called “The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite“ that is phenomenal. He uses it as a vehicle to condemn colonialism, unfair labor and slavery. A must read. 2mo
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murfman The scene at the end when Cadmus confronts Agave about her “successful hunt“ and her slow return of reason is one of my favorites in all of literature.

I'm talking too much. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
2mo
batsy @murfman I wasn't aware of that Soyinka version, so thank you so much for the rec. I will definitely be on the hunt for that one. 2mo
batsy @murfman Please don't apologise! I appreciate the chat :) I loved that scene of recognition, too. So haunting & uncompromising in how vivid it was. I also found the aspect of the disguised Dionysius telling the unsuspecting Pentheus that he takes "whatever form he wished; the choice was his, not mine" pretty chilling. A god talking in riddles as a man just is so ruthless in his revenge. But it also felt modern, like a psychological thriller. 2mo
murfman @batsy totally agree! And that same scene where we see this “Jedi Mind Trick“ effect that Dionysus places on Pentheus. He goes from being abhorrently against everything that is Dionysus, to letting himself be dressed as a woman to witness the secret rites on the mountain. It also goes to further show that regardless of how approachable Dionysus was, he was still a God. And while easily approached was easily offended. 2mo
batsy @murfman Yes! It goes back to your point about why he was so compelling as a god. The Dionysian Mysteries taps into the primal unconscious; I always find it endlessly fascinating. Euripides definitely makes you remember that there are the costs that come with worship, & I also find that an intriguing aspect of the classics. There was no attempt to erase that aspect of ancient religion. 2mo
Graywacke Glad you enjoyed. I remember I found this the standout most powerful of Euripides plays that I read. 1mo
batsy @Graywacke It's so good! The pace of it is really interesting to me, as well, the gradual unfolding of the horror. 1mo
84 likes4 stack adds10 comments
review
vivastory
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Pickpick

As translator Aaron Poochigian summarizes in the intro, " Considering life in Athens litigious & stressful, two Athenians, Peisthetaerus & Euelpides, head into the wilderness to find Tereus the Hoopoe, leader of the birds, & to make their home there." Peisthetaerus & Euelpides convince Tereus & the other birds to build Cloudcuckooland, a grand border city between humans & the Gods to regain their mythical majesty. A zany comedy w/ some ?

vivastory interesting commentary underneath. 2mo
batsy Aristophanes is so over the top! And it intrigues me to think about the audiences he was writing for, who obviously were into this kind of absurdist. 2mo
batsy *absurdism 2mo
vivastory @batsy I completely agree. It makes me wonder about lost plays that could have anticipated Beckett & Ionesco. 2mo
73 likes5 comments
review
batsy
The Phoenician Women | Euripides, Peter Burian, Brian Swann
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Pickpick

This tragedy is packed to the brim with the mythological events it references. It takes some of the main concerns of the Aeschylus' play Seven Against Thebes but with key twists; Jocasta is still alive & sees her sons die, then proceeds to kill herself. Oedipus, having blinded himself, is also still alive. Despite the hectic nature of the play, this felt poignant, especially towards the end with Antigone rallying with her cast-out father, Oedipus.

batsy I read the translation by Elizabeth Wyckoff. The painting is "Farewell of Oedipus to the Corpses of His Wife and Sons" by Edouard Toudouze (1871). 3mo
83 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
batsy
The Birds | Aristophanes
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Pickpick

I love the absurdist, fantastic elements of this political & social satire. It combines elements of fantasy in unique ways & birds make for interesting overlords! Nothing beats Prometheus arriving at the city of birds hidden first underneath a blanket & thereafter under an umbrella because he is God-enemy number one & can't be seen by Zeus or his henchmen. "There isn't a god following me, is there?" he asks, & I haven't been able to stop laughing.

batsy Film still: Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds 😅 4mo
Cathythoughts The Birds 💫♥️ 4mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Brilliant movie 🐦💙 4mo
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AmyG Agreed. Brilliant movie. 4mo
batsy @AmyG And I never get tired of re-watching it! 4mo
Liz_M We did this play in college. So much ManicPanic hair dye and crazy make up! Don't remember the plot at all. 😂 4mo
AmyG @batsy I probably watch it once a year. I find it on TV. 4mo
batsy @Liz_M 😆😆 4mo
batsy @AmyG That's probably true of me, as well. Whenever I see it on TV, I'm there 🙂 4mo
vivastory Oh, man. Having recently reread Prometheus Bound this is hilarious 😂😂 4mo
batsy @vivastory Prometheus' line came out of nowhere and was so deadpan and it truly made me lol 😆 4mo
UwannaPublishme Oh that photo! 😬 4mo
batsy @UwannaPublishme 🐦💀🐦 4mo
87 likes2 stack adds13 comments
review
vivastory
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Pickpick

Prometheus: Again, you cry and moan. What will you do when you have learned your full forecast of evils?
Chorus: Can there be still more trials left to tell?
Prom.: Yes---a storm-tossed sea of woe and ruins.
Prometheus Bound is Aeschylus' sole surviving play from a trilogy (Shelley wrote a poem on the final play Prometheus Unbound) & is noteworthy for multiple reasons. PB, as the intro. states "is both the most stationary & the most wide-ranging?

vivastory of Greek dramas." Widely known as the thief of fire, Prometheus says at one point, "All art that mortals use come from Prometheus." As memorable as his punishment is, Aeschylus wisely inserts Io into the play to add a human aspect to the themes of punishment & suffering. As noble as Prometheus is, there is something inhumane in his endurance & fortitude & the audience/reader is really struck by her punishment. As arbitrary as that of Prometheus. 4mo
vivastory The other aspect that struck me during this reread was how unusual it seemed for the chorus to not only to react to the events happening, but even to shape them to a certain extent. For some reason I recalled this happening later on, say around Euripides. Translation by James Romm. 4mo
64 likes2 comments
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vivastory
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*Argus, a giant herdsman with a hundred eyes, had been posted by Hera to guard Io and keep Zeus from arranging a tryst with her. Argus had by this time been killed by Hermes, but Io still feels tormented by his ghost. (Footnote in Aeschylus ' Prometheus Bound.)