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Commissioned to mark the centenary of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 2004, The Burial at Thebes is Seamus Heaney’s new verse translation of Sophocles’ great tragedy, Antigone – whose eponymous heroine is one of the most sharply individualized and compelling figures in Western drama. Faithful to the ‘local row’ and to the fierce specificity of the play’s time and place, The Burial at Thebes honours the separate and irreconcilable claims of its opposed voices, as they enact the ancient but perennial conflict between family and state in a time of crisis, pitching the morality of private allegiance against that of public service. Above all, The Burial at Thebes honours the sovereign urgency and grandeur of the Antigone, in which language speaks truth to power, then and now.
'This book is another example of how lucky our language is to have Seamus Heaney working in it.'
'a scrupulously faithful version, in varied verse forms, and a spare and vigorous tone.'
'an atmospheric version that gains much energy and dramatic fire from the characterisation. Above all the text acquires further physicality through Heaney's instinctively graceful and earthy feel for the right word.'
'good adaptation always sends you back to the original with insights and a need to begin reading all over again. Both of Seamus Heaney's versions of Sophocles do precisely that.'
'Heaney has found a way to make the play address the great contemporary themes without being didactic... It is resonant with glimpses of today's conflict, yet it remains a classic whose key themes are timeless.'
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