For Ezra Pound, Sophokles' Women of Trachis represented 'the highest peak of Greek sensibility registered in any of the plays that have come down to us…” Nothing rhetorical, nothing long-winded survives in Pound's tragedy of Herakles. His language is lit with lights long extinguished in the traditionally ornate and airless verse translations. With no mincing, poetry speeds tragedy down its course to disaster. Pound's version of Women of Trachis was first published by New Directions in 1957. Some twenty years earlier, in 1938, Pound had complained that there "were no translations of these plays that an aware man can read without deadly boredom." He himself, as it turned out, supplied the remedy: his Women of Trachis brings Sophokles into the world of the living.
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