Moira Russell's Reviews > Bacchae

Bacchae by Euripides
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Nov 04, 11

bookshelves: to-read, ebook, on-the-kindle

....no, I don't know why Elvis's mugshot is on the cover either.
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message 1: by JSA (new)

JSA Lowe Hm, that rather makes me want to read this edition, though....


message 2: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell J.S.A. wrote: "Hm, that rather makes me want to read this edition, though...."

It looks interesting! Just....ELVIS. (And I like Elvis.) (Very early rockabilly Elvis. And 68 Comeback Special Elvis. That's about it. Did you read that 2-vol bio of Elvis? Fantastic.)


message 3: by Mariel (new)

Mariel That's a pretty sweet cover.


message 4: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Mariel wrote: "That's a pretty sweet cover."

You know what fucking bites about the Web 2.0.1.1.1.1 or whatever iteration of it we're on these days, is when you do an image search you get taken to a Tumblr post with no source.

ANYWAY! Elvis:




message 5: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell ....OK wait, ex-Navy husband informs me that since Elvis is actually wearing a uniform (the end of the "Army" label is just barely visible and I guess that's the bottom half of "Presley" on the other side) and this is pre-haircut (?) it is probably some kind of induction ID photo.

Also, in this photo Elvis is such a COMPLETE DEAD RINGER for my dad as a young man it's fucking scary




message 6: by Mariel (new)

Mariel That's awesome! My dad looked like a hipster/stoner Jesus when he was young (and alive). Nothing so cool.


message 7: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Mariel wrote: "That's awesome! My dad looked like a hipster/stoner Jesus when he was young (and alive). Nothing so cool."

My dad was actually a contemporary of Elvis (I have Aged Parents, like Wemmick) so it's pretty funny to see his old photos. I realized my mental image of him is from when I was a kid, or teenager at best -- it's shocking when I see pictures of him with white hair.


message 8: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell And I just NOW got the email notifiction about Jen's original comment. WELL DONE GR.


message 9: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Proustitute wrote: "I really liked this translation, for what it's worth."

Oh, good! I'm looking forward to it.


message 10: by Moira (last edited Nov 06, 2011 03:54AM) (new) - added it

Moira Russell ....hmm, husband also pointed out (having read Greek tragedy with me in SJC's MALA program) Elvis would correspond to Dionysos -- down to the legions of women tearing their hair and dancing wildly, and the cultural story of him overturning the repressed staid fifties and making way for the sexually exuberant, politically liberated sixties. Hmmm.

(Also interesting how Elvis started out as a symbol of musical, sexual, even political rebellion, and then by the sixties was seen as an establishment showhorse, put through his cinematic paces by the Colonel and not returning to his rock roots til the '68 Comeback Special - God, I could talk FOR HOURS about the '68 Comeback Special, you don't even want to fucking know - and then the meeting with Nixon, the jumpsuits, Vegas, the weight gain, the drugs, the divorce, -- the seventies, in short. God, the fucking seventies. Bacchus in a goddamn jumpsuit.)

[image error]





(Am I the only one fascinated by the iconography of him as Bad Boy, singing Jailhouse Rock, when what's plastered all over the internet as his supposed mugshot is really apparently his induction into that most conservative of non-penal institutions, the state military? Just me then....)


message 11: by Lizzie (new) - added it

Lizzie This is like, SUCH AN AMAZING REVIEW already and you HAVEN'T EVEN READ IT! Jesus!

I mean, Euripides! Man!


message 12: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Lizzie wrote: "This is like, SUCH AN AMAZING REVIEW already and you HAVEN'T EVEN READ IT! Jesus!
I mean, Euripides! Man!"


EURIPIDES RULES. ....I d'know, I have really mixed feelings about the play....it's beautiful beautiful writing. But a bunch of SJC students, raw as trout, actually did it outdoors on this big plaza at the school, and even though it was a bunch of 19-year-olds with no dramatic experience who kept forgetting lines, by the end, hoo boy, katharsis in fucking spades. By the time Agave showed up with her son's head (terribly fake, it didn't matter) and showed it to her father the entire audience looked like it didn't know whether it was going to cry or be sick.

And yet, you know, what's the message? If it's just about You Must Give The Gods Their Rightful Worship, that's just about as satisfying as the end of Job (indeed, Bacchae is sort of like Job's negative). Nobody has a chance to repent, they're just destroyed, wham (like Semele, begging for a proof of the God. YOU WANT PROOF, BABY? Whoops). And people go on about "well it's their fault for living so rationally and not allowing in the ecstatic excesses," and....well, sure, maybe, but on that level, King Lear is a play about elder abuse or something. (And wanting to see what he shouldn't is what destroys Pentheus....) It's like there is no message, unless it's the one that our lives are ruled by huge terrifying forces -- call them the gods, call them fate and luck, call them genetics and environment -- that we can't control or placate. Except that's not really it either.

tl;dr
EURIPIDES //arrives in Underworld: My play! My play, my play! How did it do?
XANTHIAS: ....weren't we just here?
DIONYSOS: What the shit is this? This is supposed to be a tribute to me! Theatre celebrates me!
EURIPIDES: It does celebrate you!
DIONYSOS: It makes me look like a petty homicidal prick! A divine psychopath!
EURIPIDES: You're a god! Sophocles did the same thing!
GREEK WHOSE NAME MOI CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO LOOK UP: Sophocles showed us men as gods, Euripides shows us gods as men.
DIONYSOS: THAT.
EURIPIDES: We made you up, you know.
DIONYSOS: Don't even start.
EURIPIDES: Well, is it bad?
DIONYSOS: ....first prize, you little fucker.
EURIPIDES: Ah, yes.
DIONYSOS: Take your little flask of oil --
EURIPIDES: Excuse me?
DIONYSOS: -- wreath of laurel.


message 13: by Lizzie (new) - added it

Lizzie .....

FIVE STARS.

I should know this play.

I also enjoyed your play.


message 14: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell ahaha, if you liked that, you should totally read The Frogs, which I was ripping off in about ten different ways. It is really brilliantly hilarious.


Catherine Roehl If you're wondering why Elvis is on the cover, I think you'll find that Dionysus had a similar effect on his female followers. :)


message 16: by Mjm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mjm Actually, the Elvis cover is from a different edition, more oriented for the classroom. This version (the Golder translation) was written primarily for the stage.


message 17: by Mjm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mjm @Catherine Roehl

Well put. For those of you not familiar with Elvis' early career, his female fans were know for frenzies unmatched since the maenads of Bronze Age Greece. The mugshot is a reference to Dionysus imprisonment in the beginning of the play. It's a truly brilliant cover.


message 18: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Hexem Exactly. The cover is showing that Elvis was something of a modern Dionysus.


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