Nikki's Reviews > The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone

The Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney
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Apr 02, 12

bookshelves: greek-roman, plays, poetry, based-on-myth-saga-etc
Read on April 02, 2012

I've always been interested in Sophocles' works -- which is good, since I studied Oedipus for both GCSE and A Level Classics; I more or less had to like it -- and I was intrigued when I saw that Seamus Heaney had done a 'translation'. This is less of a translation and more of a version: I wouldn't use it for scholarly study of the play itself, though it would be interesting in studying modern rewritings and retellings of ancient myths. He keeps the play format, and some of it is really, really good poetry, though it threw me off that as usual with Heaney, there was a lot of colloquial language. I'm used to the play in a quite formal, conservative translation, which doesn't help.

It'd be a bit of a shock to an unsuspecting Classics student, I'm sure, but it's also a very lively and interesting read. I'm not sure what I think about this trend of 'updating' the classics to make them more readable for a modern audience, but Heaney does it well.
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