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Wrong Robert Bagg?

Robert Ely Bagg

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Background Information

Employment History

Robert Bagg


Professor of English

Donahue Institute


Assistant Professor of English

University of Washington


Affiliations

Amherst College

Professor Emeritus of English At the University of Massachusetts


University of Massachusetts

English Teacher


Education

English literature

Amherst


Web References(44 Total References)


Current Company | Mettawee River Theater Company

mettawee.org [cached]

Playwright: Robert Bagg
Robert Bagg and Ralph Lee collaborated on two productions, directed by Ralph, during their senior year in college in 1956-57. Bagg continued to translate Greek drama, eight plays altogether, which have been staged in 65 productions on four continents. He contributed translations of Oedipus The King, Antigone, Oedipus at Kolonos, Elektra & Women of Trakhis to The Complete Plays Of Sophocles (Harper Perennial.


www.berkshirepublishing.com

With her husband Robert Bagg, a poet and translator of ancient Greek drama, she co-authored the notes and introduction to his volume The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles.
Mary's serendipitous introduction to Berkshire Publishing came about in 2004; she has worked on nearly every volume Berkshire has published since. Top


The Complete Plays of Sophocles, A New Translation

www.thecompletesophocles.com [cached]

Robert Bagg's Detailed Response to NYRB Review
The translation I read was by James Scully, in a recently published volume containing all the existing plays of Sophocles translated by James Scully and by Robert Bagg. In the translations of Robert Bagg, James Scully, and David Mulroy, the most pressing need felt seems to be to radically simplify the original. Bagg, who translates the Oedipus Tyrannus, uses a plain, clipped style for both choral passages and speeches, ironing out the ambiguities, favoring colloquialisms, and occasionally inserting a brief explanatory word. Here is Bagg: "A violent will/fathers the tyrant,/and violence, drunk/on wealth and power,/does him no good./He scales the heights-/until he's thrown/down to his doom,/where quick feet are no use./But there's another fighting spirit/I ask god never to destroy-/the kind that makes our city thrive. And Mulroy: "Hubris breeds a tyrant. When/hubris satisfying its yen/for harmful substances ascends/the topmost beam to where it ends,/there must come next a sharp descent/that skilful feet can not prevent./God, keep the city in your grip." The first thing we learn from this is that (as every Herodotean is painfully aware) no two people are likely to agree on what that elusive vice hubris is. Equally in evidence is the old standby for verse translators: if you don't like it or can't fathom it out, either omit it, explain it, or change it to something else. Bagg identifies the improper profusion as wealth and power: he may be right, but Sophocles doesn't say this, and neither should he (Kitto, interestingly, makes exactly the same mistake). Robert Bagg The emphasis on text actually in performance, and the virtues or shortcomings of translators, Bagg among them, in this respect, was, of course, my own major theme in the concluding section of my essay. Much of what I say there Bagg ignores in his letter; let me just comment very briefly on his complaint regarding my "philologically faulty analysis" of the eight much-debated choral lines I cited from the Oedipus Tyrannus. Bagg seems to be treating Jebb (on whom he relies heavily throughout) as a kind of Vox Dei. Jebb's additions were as speculative, even if better backed with scholarship, as the next man's; and in any case he was not in the business, as Bagg would appear to be, of showing Sophocles how he should explain things to a modern audience, e.g., by having "drunk" rather than "gorged" to highlight the tyrant's psychology. As for "ramparts" vs. "rooftops," can it have escaped Professor Bagg's notice that Sophocles in fact mentions neither? Robert Bagg Replies to Peter Green And when Green asks in his letter, "can it have escaped Professor Bagg's notice that neither ramparts or rooftops are in the passage" he's forgotten that giesa, which is in the passage, could mean either. Robert Bagg's Detailed Response to NYRB Review "In the translations of Robert Bagg [and] James Scully ... the most pressing need felt seems to be to radically simplify the original." Bagg, Scully stress the dramatic in translating Sophocles So in addressing this new translation of Sophocles' seven surviving plays by poets Robert Bagg and James Scully, the inevitable first question is: Why another translation? Bagg and Scully argue that Sophocles has often been translated with a kind of general elevation and elegance that doesn't always reflect what is in fact a quite wide emotional and linguistic range. Although Sophocles' language can certainly be formal, dense, and allusive, some of it is simple, direct, and even blunt. The translators have made a point of trying to highlight these differences. To translate Sophocles' breadth of expression, Bagg and Scully have required "the resources not only of idiomatic English but also of rhetorical gravitas and, on rare occasion, colloquial English as well. As one example, Bagg and Scully cite the valuable efforts of the eminent classicist and editor William Arrowsmith, who commissioned poet-translators to develop more natural, idiomatic, and (crucially) performable versions of ancient Greek plays. Bagg and Scully, however, take this approach further than any other Sophoclean translation I'm familiar with. Bagg and Scully's renderings strike me as the most performable versions of Sophocles I've ever encountered, and this may be their greatest strength. Although I still love the Lattimore Iliad and the Mandelbaum Aeneid, I've gained a far greater appreciation for the type of approach that Bagg and Scully take here. I unhesitatingly recommend this new work of the translators, Robert Bagg and James Scully, as they really did an outstanding job of presenting these powerful dramas with extraordinary lyricism and emotional impact. Women of Trakhis (Robert Bagg) Elektra (Robert Bagg) Oedipus the King (Robert Bagg) Oedipus at Kolonos (Robert Bagg) Antigone (Robert Bagg) In the Introduction to the volume, Bagg and Scully indicate that excerpts from both Aias and Philoktetes have been performed for members of the American armed services and their families in the context of addressing and dealing with PTSD. In this collection, Bagg and Scully have given us a new version of Sophocles that is dramatic, poetic, and lyrical, and incredibly relevant for our time. © 2011 Robert Bagg and James Scully; all rights reserved.


The Complete Plays of Sophocles, A New Translation

www.thecompletesophocles.com [cached]

Robert Bagg
Robert Bagg Robert Bagg's books include: Madonna of the Cello (1961); Hippolytos (1973); The Scrawny Sonnets (1973); The Bakkhai (1978); Oedipus the King (1982); The Worst Kiss (1985); Body Blows (1988); The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles (notes and introductions coauthored with Mary Bagg, 2004); Niké and Other Poems (2006), The Tandem Ride and Other Excursions: Selected Poems 1955-2010 (2011). Robert Bagg was born 21 September 1935 in Orange, NJ. © 2011 Robert Bagg and James Scully; all rights reserved.


www.thecompletesophocles.com

© 2011 Robert Bagg and James Scully; all rights reserved.


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