Here is a new comic-book version of Euripides’s classic The Trojan Women, which follows the fates of Hekabe, Andromache, and Kassandra after Troy has been sacked and all its men killed. This collaboration between the visual artist Rosanna Bruno and the poet and classicist Anne Carson attempts to give a genuine representation of how human beings are affected by warfare. Therefore, all the characters take the form of animals (except Kassandra, whose mind is in another world).
(Greek: Ευριπίδης) Euripides (Ancient Greek: Εὐριπίδης) (ca. 480 BC–406 BC) was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles). Ancient scholars thought that Euripides had written ninety-five plays, although four of those were probably written by Critias. Eighteen of Euripides' plays have survived complete. It is now widely believed that what was thought to be a nineteenth, Rhesus, was probably not by Euripides. Fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays also survive. More of his plays have survived than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because of the chance preservation of a manuscript that was probably part of a complete collection of his works in alphabetical order.
Unsurprisingly excellent, I was waiting for this one. Anne Carson is a splendid Euripides translator, she understands and speaks his dramatic language, bar none; occasionally - makes it better (like in this case, due to the fact that "Trojan Women" is not exactly a masterpiece of tragedy). Loved the illustrations and overall artistic direction as well. Reimagining classics is what keeps them fresh and exciting and there is no such thing as too much great drama.
This is Carson's interpretation of Euripides' The Trojan Women, as illustrated by Rosanna Bruno. Plays and comics have a lot in common, both being forms that marry the visuals and dialogue, and both can work with broad or small palettes. Rosanna Bruno's illustrations are loose, spontaneous and gestural: they give the play a sense of immediacy, as though the action is taking place right now, almost too quickly to be captured. Though many of the interpretations of characters are quirky or unexpected, such as Andromache appearing as a poplar sapling, or Athene as a pair of overalls, Bruno captures the poignancy of these images, as well as their irony. Carson's interpretation of this story is also admirable: her poetry is vivid and clear, and captures the atmosphere of a city devastated by war. It feels brutally relevant: these characters wait in a camp for their future to be decided by forces beyond their control, unable to protect their children. Carson presents the facts starkly and without authorial comment, making the story feel both immediate and eternal. Though there are imperfections both in the text and in the images, overall I thought this was an impressive achievement, much more so than many of the other modern interpretations of the women of Troy.
This collaboration of an economical poetic text by the eminent classics scholar and translator Anne Carson and raw, powerful illustrations by Rosanna Bruno, was an absolute pleasure to read and absorb. The retelling of Euripides play captured the suffering and the absolute surreal existence of those who survive on the losing side of a war. I'm not sure how effective it would be for people unfamiliar with the original play, but if you have a familiarity with the original text and enjoy imagining re-interpretations of old stories, I highly, highly recommend this version: the images and the language will haunt me for a long time. It's simply a beautiful work.
This isn't, and doesn't pretend to be, an introduction to Euripides' play. It's almost the opposite: an obscurely witty retelling that James Joyce might have liked. For me, most of it fell a bit flat, and the overall effect was muted. I bought it based on (a) the opening page and (b) the fact that it was translated by Anne Carson. It's not Euripides' best play (Medea, Bacchae, Hippolytus - take your pick), but it didn't seem to have any power at all, awkwardly comic and obscure. Rosanna Bruno's decision to use animals/objects to represent people/gods is a divisive one, and her drawings are sketchy. The review in the TLS said the translation closely matched the playwright's style in Ancient Greek; if so, it is pretty garish in modern English. I'll read the play in a different modern translation and perhaps revisit this later.
The only issue with this is that I didn't like it, and it was bad. The art I mean was just too zinecore, and the translation I found too self conscious, lacking something; yet it's a surprising departure in esotericism for the poet which is dope. I got Isle of Dogs vibes. The grief of a thousand women is weaponized, and made to shiver and hunger yet never dying. These women speak as a chorus of dogs and cows, and Athena is a pair of overalls with an owl mask. And the book just goes nowhere, meandering like dead sons.
Anne Carson branches into graphic novels?? Effervescent. Also sad. The play is, as they say, a tragedy.
Loved Andromache as a tree split down the middle => Astyanax is a sapling cut down too soon. Athena as a pair of "Warhartt" overalls with an owl mask (this is so funny I will never not love this). Wonderful illustrations. I think this is a really good medium for plays!!! More ppl should do dramatic poetry as graphic novels pls
Anne Carson’s translations are always a modern version of the very old world we still have not fully detach from. In this version of Euripides, the world is collapsing and decaying. But that collapsing and decaying is an act of disappearance know and experience since the two wars of the last century. Rosanna Bruno’s art carries on the drama and the action in a living way. Her own interpretation of Carson’s interpretation is revealing and refreshing. From Baldwin to Beckett, we still go on eve when can’t go on. On.
Trojan Women is probably no one's pick for best play by Euripides. On the other hand, there is nothing by Anne Carson that is without interest. Maligned unfairly by those who ache for the stilted pieties of the old Lattimore / Grene editions (U of C Press) of the Greek plays, Carson is a vibrant translator who reaches for striking images and metaphors to connect to modern readers, yet always anchors her moves in nuanced and empathetic readings of the original text. So it makes perfect sense to pair her powerful renderings of Euripides with an illustrator who isn't going to do a straightforward depiction of gods, mourning women and Greek soldiers. Rosanna Bruno's images occupy an analogously oblique space to the original text that Carson's metaphors do. In short, they are a really fine pairing who manage to render palpable the agony and distress of soon-t0-be-enslaved prisoners of war in ways that earlier translations, with their choral odes and inert but accurate diction failed to do. All translations are by definition interpretations; why not an interpretation via graphic novel that keeps what is weird and strange about Euripides through new verbal and visible means, while fulling conveying the horror of the original text? This stands as a terrific rendition of Euripides and a compelling graphic text. Like everything Carson touches, this is highly recommended.
I enjoyed and was fascinated by this sophisticated and surreal adaptation of Euripides' play "The Trojan Women" by noted poet and classical translator Anne Carson and illustrator Rosanna Bruno. I did not, however, understand much of it, probably missing many references, and being puzzled by a number of the choices, but maybe one is not supposed fully understand something this surreal.
It starts out with Poseidon depicted as a wave, Troy as an old decaying hotel, and then it starts getting weirder when Athena is an empty pair of overalls. Hekabe is an old mangy dog, Helen alternates between being a fox and a mirror, Andromache and Astyanax are both trees, and then it gets really weird when Menelaos is depicted as a floating "some sort of gearbox, clutch or coupling mechanism, once sleek, not this year’s model."
The underlying play has a lot of weaknesses compared to the best of Greek drama but this was an intriguing and thought provoking way to experience it again. Unlike many simplistic graphic depictions it didn't clarify and simplify but instead moved in the opposite direction, creating some unforgettable images in the process.
As an adult I’ve never read a comic before but what Anne Carson creates, I am intrigued by, so this was my first comic as an adult and wow. I was not let down, this is amazing! It is so so innovative, it really speaks to all of Carson’s strengths, her intimate understanding of classic greek texts, her ability to use colloquial language in a way that never diminishes the beauty or complexity of the text, in fact I think it allows the text to exist in a natural and organic way, her humor, her absolute genius. The choices in the illustrations are so insane and perfect, to have Athene as a fox that turns into a mirror, to have Kassandra as the only human, to have Menelaus as a gearbox, etc. this comic beautifully and heartbreakingly explores the grief and pain of the Trojan women after Troy is conquered by the Greeks, with touching modernized images like a grave with a “#1 dad” sign. The illustrations themselves are also so good! Highly recommend this to anyone interested in Greek mythology.
This the graphic novel version of the Classical Greek play by the same name. It is an anti-war statement that follows the fates of the Trojan women who survived the Greek sacking of the city. The main characters are Hecabe (the widow of King Priam), her daughter Cassandra (the prophetess of Apollo who is fated to never be believed), daughter-in-law Andromeche (widow of Hector), Helen (the cause of it all).
The author does an excellent job encapsulating the story into the abridged version presented her. Well worth the read to see her translation.
Like many graphic novels, the project goes off the rails with the artwork. Too many artists ruin the imagery with odd symbolism and drawing style. The author represented Athena as a pair of overalls, Menelaus was a set of gears, and Helen was a fox in high heels.
I hadn't read The Trojan Women by Euripides for many, many years, so I reread it before reading this graphic version. I'm glad I did.
There are things about this book I love: (Troy ". . . crouched on the plain like James Baldwin . . .") and Athene embodied as a pair of "Warhartt" overalls carrying an owl mask, not to mention Hecuba as an "ancient emaciated sled dog of filth and wrath," and my favorite, the chorus of dogs and cows. Things that are bizarre enough to be thought provoking. I had hoped to add this to my beloved collection of art books.
But, my inner English teacher rose to the surface (of Poseidon?) when I read "not" instead of "naught" and "by" instead of "my." My red pen grew enraged. I may need to consign this work of art to the Little Free Library. Alas, proofreading is dead . . .
If you like Anne Carson's translations, then you'll like the translation here. If you're a stickler for a more literal translation of the Greek, then you'll probably hate that she uses more modern words and concepts (the art does too). That said, Carson captures the feeling and flow of the Trojan Women extremely well. The art style also won't be for everyone. It's messy, confusing at times, the way people are depicted is symbolic instead of literal. I think that goes extremely well with what the Trojan Women is about though. It's a messy, confusing, horrific event where the women are being treated as commodoties instead of people. I think this translation and art are exceptional at depicting the Trojan Women in a way that can resonate with people.
An abbreviated, modernized at times, version/translation of Euripides' "The Trojan Women" by premiere poet/Classicist/translator, Anne Carson. She gets to the heart of the original play. Well illustrated by Rosanna Bruno, with whom I was not familar before this. Mostly using animals for the humans, when she chooses to use something diferent, it works out really well (Andromache and Astyanax as trees). Well done on every level. It does help to be familar with the original play, and I read the OUP Alan Shapiro translation, which is heavily annotated and has a great Intro, before I read this. Thanks to my PL for a copy to read.
I just read and re-read this. A powerful interpretation of a dark and tragic play. Anne Carson's language astounds, as usual. The precision of the words, with the intensity of Rosanna Bruno's stark and scratchy images is a dynamic combination. The drawings have an energy that adds to Carson's spare translation. I tried reading an earlier translation of this play but could not finish it. I also just love holding the book. It is large format and is visually impressive, cover to cover. I would like to see more graphic editions of classic texts!
The art style is unique and definitely brings a lot of character to this version of Euripides' play, and while I loved the animal interpretations and their representations of the victims of war, there were times I wanted more out of the overall art aesthetic -- there were times where it fell dull or flat. The translation from Anne Carson is lovely as ever, pulsing with as much contemporary rhetoric with the ancient Greek: a duo of expression and accessibility I've come to truly enjoy in her work.
“Dragged the stones up from the beach, / We built boulevards, / We dreamed of headlights going ghosting through the fog.”
I love all of Anne Carson’s work, especially her translations, and this was similarly deeply moving. While I wasn’t a huge fan of having the characters take the form of animals, I did enjoy the comic book format, and I’d love to see future translations in this same form.
I wanted to like this book. I am familiar with Lysistrata by Aristohsnes and though this might be similar. I loved the cover colors and illustration but couldn't get into the story. It was a mash up of Animal Farm with Edith Hamilton. Many of the goddess and women characters were cows or dogs. I might try reading it some other time.
A miserable saga of three "fictional" women surviving the war. Very good antiwar classic. Interesting also from the point of view of anthropology. Our tendency to use religious attitudes to both exonerate and blame.
The art is unique and not too explicit. The Iliad always should have been the warning to all future warfare rather than a training manual for glory.