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The Lysistrata

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  18,170 ratings  ·  367 reviews
The original edition of The Lysistrata of Aristofanes was published by Leonard Smithers in 1896 in an edition of 100 copies, translated by Samuel Smith and with eight full-page illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. Beardsley (1872 – 1898) was an English illustrator and author whose drawings, executed in black ink and influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts, emphasized th...more
Hardcover, 60 pages
Published 1973 by Academy Editions (first published -411)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Seth
I hate this book because I got arrested on account of it. I was at the University of Texas' Perry Castaneda Library and it got lost amidst the shuffled stack of books which I dumped into my backpack when I left.

Exiting the library the sensor went off.

Sorry, I forgot to check it out. No big deal, happens all the time.

But the Department of Collegiate Fascism, aka the UTPD, are required to file a report. Bored from arresting 19-year-olds for walking down the street half drunk they show up like it...more
Ian Paganus de Fish
Feb 08, 2013 Ian Paganus de Fish rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ian by: Bird Brian
Lysistrata

Some Greek men, you’ll discover,
Being a lesser lover
Than a renderer of war,
Treat their wives much like a whore.

So one day, Lysistrata,
Equipped with all the data,
Reckoned upon a tactic
To withhold love climactic.

She aimed to end all conflict
With some cohorts she had picked,
To flaunt breasts and nothing hide,
Though, ‘til peace, men were denied.

Males came with their pricks erect,
Revealed for all to inspect,
Still their wives rejected them,
Until war they would condemn.

So the violence did dec...more
Praj
It had been quite awhile since I contemplated over any books let alone penning a critical appraisal on Goodreads. It was tough trying to get words out of the overwhelming emotional vortex; an obstinate ketchup bottle ignoring the need of a fried potato for the tangy goodness. So, when Brian suggested a group reading of Lysistrata, I was a bit apprehensive. A Greek playwright crossing the dreaded course of fallen heroic tragedies; even more remorse to my cerebral coma; not a luxurious indulgence...more
Leajk
Nov 21, 2012 Leajk rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men, women, war monglers, pacifists
In the introductory note in my edition a Mr. Crofts mentions that the play "is notorious for its racy, almost pornographic humor". I'd say that this seems to be a bit of an overstatement.

Surely it is not that much more racy than say a William Shakespeare play or for that matter The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights? It is really all talk and no action. Surely we as modern readers can handle that? (And would anyone living in 1994, the date of this edition, really consider this...more
Werner
Dec 29, 2012 Werner rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of literature, theater history, or ancient history
Shelves: plays, classics
After listing this on my "read" shelf for years, I discovered last month that the "translation" I read as a teen was actually a very free adaptation, which only loosely resembles what Aristophanes actually wrote. Naturally, I wanted to correct that mistake; and since I was looking for a short read right now, and had promised a Goodreads friend that I'd soon review the actual play, I worked it in over the past couple of days. Note: the above Dover edition is not actually the one I read; I read th...more
BirdBrian
NOTE: This book contains four plays, but this review only pertains to Lysistrata

Guys: if you ever want to be the life of the party (or maybe get yourself arrested), consider borrowing this 2500 year old bit from Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata:

KINESIAS: (entering the peace negotiation) ….I’ve come as a delegate to the Sexual Congress. (opens cloak to reveal massive, throbbing erection) Here are my credentials.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I’m just dying to use that one. Now you might understand how L...more
Yuki
Dec 24, 2012 Yuki rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one--not this Douglass Parker translation.
This modern translation is HORRENDOUS! Got it, the Athenians consider the Spartan Lampito a country bumpkin, but I can not read another line of "Shuckins, whut fer you tweedlin'me up so? I feel like a heifer come fair-time." in this CLASSIC drama. Harumph!

Douglass Parker's footnote for *I calklate so" is "In employing a somewhat debased American mountain dialect to render the Laconic Greek of Lampito and her countrymen, I have tried to evoke something like the Athenian attitude toward their pere...more
Sita Sargeant
Oct 24, 2011 Sita Sargeant rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Greek Theatre or fans of Play's
Recommended to Sita by: My Ancient History Teacher
Shelves: own, reviewed, classic
This is an interesting one. I read it when my Ancient History teacher recommended it to me. I enjoyed it although I didn't love it. It is about a bunch of women who withhold sex from their husbands until they stop going to war. It is an interesting one and I enjoyed it. I would recommend it to fans of the Greek Theatre or people who enjoy reading good plays. Because this is a good one.
Sheila
What a fascinating play. Either Aristophanes was a man ahead of his time, or women in Ancient Greece were not the way I had previously learned they were.

Lysistrata is a woman who knows here mind, a woman confident in her sexuality, a woman who has her own thoughts and ideas about what is happening in her world, and she is going to do something with these ideas. She is tired of war, and she is going to stop it. Her friends are confident, sexually secure women. These are not timid women in arrang...more
sckenda
Lysistrata and her friends attempt to end the Peloponnesian War by staging a sex-strike. The women swear an oath that they will first arouse their men with negligees and then refuse to have sex with them until the armies agree to a truce. If their husbands take them by force, they vow to resist and make them suffer.

This may be one of the first peace protests in literature. Aristophanes is a ribald playwright, known for his adolescent humor, and I can imagine his male audience laughing hysterica...more
Bruce
Lysistrata is one of Aristophanes’ anti-war plays, written during Athen’s involvement in the seemingly interminable Peloponnesian War. In the years since then it has proved one of his most enduringly popular, sometimes interpreted and presented in modern times as a pacifist work, sometimes as a feminist play. The title character is a woman of strong convictions who, tired of the war, its cost, and the continual absence of men at the front, organizes the women of all the combatant city states to...more
Leslie
This play from ancient Greece still is an amusing look at male-female relations & has some slyly witty pokes at the causes of war. In the play, Athens is at war with Sparta. Lysistrata convinces women from both city-states that together they can bring peace by denying the men sex until the men agree to a peace treaty! And of course, it doesn't hurt that the women also seize control over the war treasury.
G.R. Reader
Sex! Violence! Social commentary! Ancient Greek!
Christine Orwell
Oh dear god. THIS WAS AWFUL. Couldn't even finish it.

Basic premise: Athenian women are sick or war, so they decide to not have sex with the men until they stop fighting.

The play sounds really interesting and I would love to read it in decent, appropriate language. The problem isn't the play, the problem is that this so-called "modern translation" was just atrocious. Apparently Athenians considered Spartan to be hillbillies, and that's fine. If you want to convey that the Spartan characters are l...more
carl  theaker


The first sitcom? Hilarious tale, well as funny as it
gets in Greek Lit anyway, of the women folk back
home holding out on the men till they quit fighting.

Just might work today!


Anne
Loved the character of Lysistrata. Very modernist and intelligent. Her plan was brilliant!
Vivian Archer
Absolutely hysterical. I loved this play.
Dexter
This comedy was very bawdy and hilarious! Very laugh out loud funny. Definitely not for kids, or even high school students, as there is strong adult sexual humor in here. Absolutely brilliant sexual comedy, and probably Aristophanes' most famous comedic play.

This play is a great primary source on sexual relations and the status of women in ancient Greece. Granted, there is a lot that Aristophanes probably left out with regard to "less mainstream" sexual behavior in ancient Greece, but what he wr...more
Antof9
How entertaining! It wasn't at all what I expected, and I almost laughed out loud at some parts. I couldn't describe it better than the back of the book: "The most famous, bawdy satire of Ancient Greece".

"The women of Greece are weary of the extended war between Athens and Sparta. Led by Lysistrata, they decide to take control of the situation by capturing the Acropolis, seat of Athenian walth, and by going on a sex strike. There is to be no more love-making until peace has been established. Suf...more
Kelsey Jacobs
This has to be the funniest piece of literature from ancient times. Small wonder, seeing as how most teachers only have a limited amount of time to cram in as much "meaningful" stuff as they can. Still, I wasn't expecting this play to be so damn FUNNY.

The humor translates well to a modern audience, props to Sarah Ruden. My teacher had kept saying throughout the quarter, "Just wait 'til we get to the Lysistrata! I think that there is at least one penis joke on every page! Aren't penises funny?" A...more
Jen3n
Hi-larious. I love this play. It's both a serious argument against war and a sex-comedy all at the same time. And it was written thousands of years ago. How you like THEM apples?

The plot (or the general plot) goes something like this: men have been fighting a long and bloody war for far too long. They have killed and smashed and stratigized themselves into a stalemate, but no one want to give up the pointless, unwinable war. So the women decide to stop having sex with them. The wives the girlfri...more
Kitty
I get a perverse kick out of the fact that I can share a hearty laugh about someone's genitals with someone a thousand years ago. The fact that both myself and a stadium full of men in ancient Greece were laughing about the same things has an unnatural appeal to me. Almost enough to forget the fact that we were undoubtedly laughing for very different reasons.

It's interesting to see how audiences now react to this play in contrast to how it was originally meant to be viewed. In the twenty first c...more
Melissa
This comedy, originally written in 411 BC, was banned in 1967 in Greece because of its anti-war message. This modern translation by Douglass Parker breathes new life into the story and makes it accessible for all audiences.

The women in Greece decide that they are tired of their men always being away fighting the Peloponnesian War. One woman, Lysistrata, comes up with a brilliant idea and recruits the rest of the women to take part in her plan. They decide as a group to withhold sex from the men...more
Cindy
The basic plot behind this book is pretty well known. The Greek women get tired of war and decide force a peace treaty. Their weapon of choice is sex - they will withhold intimacy from their men until the men agree to call off the war.

As might be expected, the dialogue is pretty full of innuendo and at time explicit reference to sex. There are lots of jokes about it. I'm not sure how this would be staged in today's world.

I was fine with that. What bothered me was the translation. For instance, a...more
Val
This would have been a fun play to have read while in college at a women's college. However I can see why the male professors would not touch it. This may be the first feminist play ever written, and it is funny-- Greek women in 411 BC withholding sex to keep the men of Athens and Sparta from killing themselves and their male offspring off. There is a lot of ancient sex-talk as well and much of it is humorous. It is short--just over 50 pages or so. Apparently when looking up the background it wa...more
Anne
Very dirty, pretty funny, essentially nonsensical. It cracks me up to think the ancient Greeks were cranking out stuff just as bawdy as a lot of what one sees today. But overall, I'm not impressed. The characterization, plot, etc was either absent or didn't make sense. In particular, how does one execute a sex strike when the main complaint is that everyone's husband is off at war? Ah, well. I imagine it was primarily farcical. Basically, I'm digging some of the nascent feminist themes (even if...more
Thomas Skabar
This is Old Comedy in its purest state. It never ceases to amaze me that something over 2000 years old can be so poignant, so humorous and so relevant in contemporary society.. It also never ceases to amaze me when I use 'poignant' in a sentence. But in all seriousness, it is incredible to read this and see that sex and war dominated the media in 400 BC in much the same way they do today.

In "Lysistrata", the women of Greece convene to conceive a resolution to the Peloponnesian War. Their plan?...more
Steelwhisper
Read in school.

Omigod. I just remembered how much I hated this. O.o

Pointless jokes about pointless genitalia. Unfunny.
Emily Mell
Although the play itself is interesting and has literary merit--it's an ancient Greek drama, for Christ's sake--I have to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of the "modern translation". If I'm going to read Greek drama, I want the language. I want all of the experience, and I don't want to see Spartans portrayed as Duck Dynasty caricatures. But it's impossible to deny: the satire is strong in this one.
Lysistrata has had enough of the interminable war and come to the conclusion that the only way...more
Kat Alexander
We were supposed to read this in a humanities class my sophomore year in high school and it was dropped, and then the year after us reintroduced in another sophomore-year class. Since it had been on some reading list or another for the year, a friend had picked up a copy, and I went ahead and read it a couple years late because, well, I've had her copy for about eight months now. Translation left something to be desired in parts--the choral sections are beautiful and most characters' dialogue ve...more
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Is this the audiobook? 1 4 Apr 12, 2013 07:23PM  
  • Iphigenia in Aulis
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  • Eumenides
1011
Aristophanes (Greek: Αριστοφάνης; c. 446 BCE – c. 386 BCE) was a playwright of ancient Athens.
About 11 of his works are known in full, and they are the only plays of the "Old Comedy" style to have survived. They are The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, The Ecclesiazusae, The Frogs, The Knights, Peace, Plutus (wealth), The Thesmophoriazusae, and The Wasps. These plays have been translated into m...more
More about Aristophanes...
Four Plays: The Clouds/The Birds/Lysistrata/The Frogs Clouds Lysistrata and Other Plays Frogs Birds

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“Calonice: My dear Lysistrata, just what is this matter you've summoned us women to consider.What's up? Something big?

Lysistrata: Very big.

Calonice: (interested) Is it stout too?

Lysistrata: (smiling) Yes, indeed -- both big and stout.

Calonice: What? And the women still haven't come?

Lysistrata: It's not what you suppose; they'd come soon enough for that.”
9 likes
“[Y]ou [man] are fool enough, it seems, to dare to war with [woman=] me, when for your faithful ally you might win me easily.” 9 likes
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