BMCR 2006.10.01

Euripides Elektra: übersetzt und mit einem Nachwort versehen

, , Elektra. Frankfurt: Verlag Antike, 2006. 84 pages ; 18 cm. ISBN 393803209X €9.90.

This nicely produced and genuinely pocket-sized paperback from the recently formed Verlag Antike provides a German translation of Euripides’ Electra, two dozen explanatory notes, a 6,000-word Afterword with a scene-by-scene survey, sections on earlier treatments of the story, the play’s date and (very briefly) influence, and a select bibliography. Hellmut Flashar’s translation reflects the verse structure of the original but uses an unmannered prose idiom which offers both accuracy and performability; it has in fact been used in recent stage productions by the Theater im Pfalzbau in Germany and Art Carnuntum in Austria. Minimal stage directions are included, and the Afterword includes further guidance, but strophic structures and actors’ lyrics might have been more clearly indicated and explained. Little attention is given to problematic aspects of the text such as the authenticity of Orestes’ remarks in 383-400, the debate about the signs of Orestes’ return (518-44), the sense of the second strophe of Stasimon 2, or the distribution of parts in 1292-1300 (where Victorius’ intrusion of the Chorus into the dialogue between Castor and the matricides is surprisingly retained). F.’s readiness to trace connections between the world of the play and the world of Euripides’ own time (the Peasant’s impoverishment linked with the depopulation of Mycenae, p. 74; allusions to the Sicilian expedition, pp. 76, 81) is debatable. But on the whole this will be a reliable and stimulating resource for its intended general readership.