Saturday, April 14, 2007

Antigone (comparison of translations)

I picked up Antigone at the library this last week. I ended up getting two versions; one copy translated by Robert Bagg, and the other translated by Richard Emil Braun. I chose to read them both because I thought it would be interesting to see how they differ in the translation. The Bagg version claims that the author tried to satisfy the desire to be accurate, as well as considering how the words would sound to the reader. The Braun version states that 'only translators who write poetry themselves can properly recreate these tragedies." Well, I finished reading Antigone this afternoon, and I found that reading both versions, side by side, was definitely a good decision. I think that I got a much fuller understanding of the play than if I had only read one. I enjoyed it so much that I really wish that I had studied Ancient Greek so I could read what Sophocles actually wrote himself.
Well, who knows what will happen in the future.

As far as the two versions go, I think I enjoyed the Bagg version a little bit more. In the beginning of the play I felt like the Braun version was more emotive, but somewhere around the middle, he started to lose me sometimes. I would go back to the Bagg version, and feel like I was understanding it better, and in reality I didn't think the poetry in the Braun version was better, except in the very beginning where Antigone is talking with her sister.

In the end, Antigone was so absorbing, I have decided to continue reading the Bagg version. The book that contains this translation of Antigone is The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles, and also includes Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Kolonos, as well as an interesting essay about Greek Theater.

4 comments:

Theresa said...

Looks like you're really busy these days. You've taken on quite a challenge with this reading project you're into. How do you ever find the time?

Michelle Liebgott-Osinga said...

I'm really having a lot of fun with it. I always wanted to read a lot of these things, but never got the chance because I had so much required reading in school (which did not include many classics) and then in the summer I was always just too burned out.
We are on a really nice and predictable schedule, so I read in the afternoon during Joseph's nap, and then also at night when he goes to bed. I usually get a good two or three hours a day to read.

Nymeth said...

Here's something I really want to read, but I was never sure which translation to pick. Thanks for the review!

Stephanie said...

Man. I read this in college and I haven't thought of it since!! I really should reread it now. I think I would appreciate it alot more!