5 January 2024 • Faculty A New Look at a Classic

With in-depth commentary and context, Associate Professor of Classics Leah Himmelhoch’s new translation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon offers an invaluable guide for students and teachers of “one of the most stirring, influential tragedies ever written.”

Agamemnon, written by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, is the first play in the Oresteia trilogy, exploring the complexities of fate, justice and revenge against the backdrop of the Trojan War.

Published earlier this year, Associate Professor of Classics Leah Himmelhoch’s approach to Agamemnon is rich in historical, literary and performative context, with detailed commentary to help readers access the play’s challenging language. Himmelhoch's commentary especially fulfills the needs of undergraduate Greek students, and is believed to be the first commentary on the play published by a woman. 

As the publisher notes, “This accessible edition for students brings…Aeschylus’ opening play in the Oresteia trilogy to life for first-time readers. A hugely popular play in antiquity and with a rich reception history to the present day, this is an essential play for students of classics, drama and the canon of western literature.”

In the introduction, Himmelhoch outlines the plot, themes, central images and relationship to the other parts of the Oresteia trilogy. Following the original Greek text and Himmelhoch’s translation, her commentary in this edition engages deeply with both the grammar and the images, themes, and cultural and historical context. Her commentary also includes a companion website with a running vocabulary for the entire Agamemnon to assist students, especially first-time readers.

Himmelhoch, who joined the faculty in 1999, holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. from Yale University.

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