Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Tragedies, Volume II

Tragedies, Volume II

Oedipus. Agamemnon. Thyestes. Hercules on Oeta. Octavia

Seneca

Edited and translated by John G. Fitch

ISBN 9780674997189

Publication date: 06/01/2018

Spectacular verse drama.

Seneca is a figure of first importance in both Roman politics and literature: a leading adviser to Nero who attempted to restrain the emperor’s megalomania; a prolific moral philosopher; and the author of verse tragedies that strongly influenced Shakespeare and other Renaissance dramatists.

Seneca’s plays depict intense passions and interactions in rhetoric that is equally strong. Their perspective is much bleaker than that adopted in his prose writings. His plots are based on mythical episodes, in keeping with classical tradition. But the political realities of imperial Rome are also reflected in an obsessive concern with power and dominion over others. The Octavia is our sole surviving example of a Roman historical play; set at Nero’s court, it was probably written by an admirer of Seneca as statesman and dramatist.

John G. Fitch has thoroughly revised his two-volume edition of Seneca’s Tragedies to take account of the textual and interpretive scholarship that has appeared since its initial publication. His translation conveys the force of Seneca’s dramatic language and the lyric quality of his choral odes.

Praise

  • This second volume of the new Loeb tragedies (the first volume, also by John Fitch, appeared in 2002) is very much in the new style and admirably suited to the new standard. Fitch has long been a major player in Senecan studies, and the vast range of his experience is here put at the service of all comers. They will be very glad of it. The translations are deft, accurate, and extremely readable, while the introductions to each play are significant essays in their own right. Bibliographies are well and fairly compiled, so that even their privileging of work in English seems unexceptionable. Classicists working with Seneca will want to have this edition at hand, while readers with little or no Latin will also soon discover that this is the edition of Seneca to use.

    —Sander M. Goldberg, University of Toronto Quarterly

Author

  • John G. Fitch is Professor Emeritus of Greek and Roman Studies, University of Victoria.

Book Details

  • 672 pages
  • 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

From this author

Recommendations