A thrilling, accessible translation of Sophocles' Oedipus plays.
While many in today's self-determined audience might have trouble swallowing the bitter pill of fate Sophocles serves up, one need only look to the nearest newsstand to find contemporary examples of the same familial tragedies he dramatized so powerfully nearly two-and-a-half millennia ago. In Bagg's capable hands, these shocking tales of lurid but unwitting acts pack the emotional force that rocked Sophoclean Athens. Bagg's supple translation, framed by illuminating commentary and notes co-authored by Mary Bagg, evokes deep sympathy for Oedipus, tragedy's most poignantly "god-crushed man," as well as members of his doomed household. Throughout, Bagg's language is spare yet unstilted, modernized but not so contemporary as to be colloquial; the stateliness of Sophocles' poetry sings out as Bagg captures the subtle nuances of acts both verbal and physical that distinguish these classic texts. Bagg's commentary reminds us that, for Aristotle, Oedipus epitomized tragedy, and one of the devices Sophocles so masterfully employed was irony. From Oedipus' early lament-"Yet, sick as you are, / not one of you suffers a sickness like mine" (Oedipus the King)-to Haimon's final warning to his father-"Then she will die, and dead, kill someone else" (Antigone)-Bagg reflects the full spectrum of Sophocles' dramatic irony. Through word and deed, these characters succumb to their fates with a painful wallop, and Bagg's winning collection of all three works allows readers to consider the entire Oedipal saga from a number of revealing angles.
The only tragedy greater than those presented here with such rigorous beauty would be missing this collection.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)