9. Sophocles (ca. 496-406 BC)

Original language: Greek.

I read Oedipus Trilogy, “a version by” Stephen Spender.

Spender (1909-1995) had a long and glorious career as a prolific writer, translator, professor, civil servant, and magazine publisher. Before reading his Oedipus I knew him best for his wonderful translations (with J.B. Leishman) of Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus.

I enjoyed Oedipus Trilogy. Spender’s translation is excellent – very supple. It deals with themes that are often dealt with – gods’ law versus man’s law, loyalty to families (or not). With some good helpings of sex, violence and murder. 


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