Book: Lysistrata

The book: Lysistrata, by Aristophanes

The edition: Italian translation by Valentino De Carlo, as published by Newton in “Tutte le commedie“, 1994, 40 pages

The story: a comic tale of Greek women trying to end the Peloponnesian War by refusing to have sex with their husbands (or lovers) until they sign a peace treaty.

My experience with the book & my thoughts: there’s a reason why I don’t usually read plays: I am unable to represent them in my head, so I can’t enjoy them properly. It was the same with this one (also encumbered by a few translation choices I didn’t like). Plays are written to be represented, not read — or at least not read by me. I can see there’s value in this one, and someone else may be touched by the pacifist stance, the feminist approach or whatever. I could only see the comedy, and not of a genre I like: foul-mouthed and full of double-entendres, it may extol a laugh (and it did, because the double-entendres are at times very smart), but leaves a bad aftertaste.

Language & translation: as I said, I do not agree with some of the translation choices. Spartans speak in a peculiar way in the original, I gather, and they are rendered with a popular dialect — but here they speak Roman dialect, which to my ear is too geographically suggestive to be used in this way.

Links to better understand this book: I’m lazy today so you’ll only get the Wikipedia entry.

Movie connection: based on a similar premise, I recommend The Source by Radu Mihaileanu.

Counts as: Greek Classics Challenge #1; Back to the Classics Challenge – Classic play

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2 comments on “Book: Lysistrata

  1. I hope I didn’t scare you (or anyone) off this book. The thing of not enjoying reading plays is a very personal limitation. And I guess translation is just as important as original value in how much people enjoy ancient Greek literature. 😉

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