Invitation to World Literature
The Bacchae The Bacchae – Connections
In the Images of World Literature slideshow, you saw images related to The Bacchae. Here you can find resources and links on the text. (See the translations and editions page for links to these.)
- Die Bassariden, an opera by Hans Werner Henze with a libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman (1965), based on The Bacchae. Both the full opera and excerpts, including the Maenads dance, have been released on CD and are available as downloads. http://www.amazon.com/Hans-Werner-Henze-Die-Bassariden/dp/B00022XOAY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282511448&sr=8-2
- “Euripides’ Bacchae” (2002) was composed by Petros Tabouris, and performed on recreations of instruments that may have been used in ancient Greece. (CD and downloads) http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/euripides-bacchae/id285741185
- Gustav Holst “Hymn to Dionysus” (1913) for women’s chorus, using the Gilbert Murray translation. (CD and downloads) http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Hymns-Eastern-Pictures-Dionysus/dp/B000001PCH/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282511493&sr=1-1
- Music is often part of live performances of The Bacchae. British composer Harrison Birtwistle provided music for Peter Hall’s 2002 production of The Bacchae in London in London.
Images can be found on the web sites of many large museums. For instance:
- “Relief with a Dancing Maenad” from the Greek Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/130013975
- A vase showing Dionysus, maenads and satyrs, also from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/31.11.11
- “Theoi Greek Mythology: Exploring Mythology in Classical Literature and Art” has links to many images, including four period images from of the unusual birth of Dionysus from Zeus’ thigh. http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/DionysosMyths.html#Birth
- The Bacchae is frequently performed today. Recent performances include:
- Public Theater in New York’s Central Park, in summer 2009, slideshow of images available on NYTimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow
- The National Theatre of Scotland production (which starred Alan Cumming) has slideshow and video available on its site.
- Playwright Chuck Mee has created Bacchae 2.1 as part of his (re)making project, which invites visitors to take the script from his website and use it as a resource for new work. See http://www.panix.com/userdirs/meejr/html/about.html, and http://www.panix.com/userdirs/meejr/html/plays.html for access to the text.
- In 1970, film director Brian de Palma filmed Richard Schechner’s dramatic re-envisioning of the work, Dionysus in ’69, which he discusses in the video. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065641/
- Excerpts from longer films or short films of The Bacchae are available on YouTube, although Brad Mays’ version is not currently available online. Production photos from Mays’ 1997 stage version, on which the film is based, are available at his web site. http://www.bradmays.com/bacchae_theatre_photos.html
Books and web resources on the play and its context, as well as criticism and analysis. (Note that most editions of the play include introductions.)
- E.R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational, University of California Press, 1959. http://www.amazon.com/Greeks-Irrational-Sather-Classical-Lectures/dp/0520242300/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281556692&sr=8-1
- John Drakakis and Naomi Conn Liebler (editors): Longman Critical Readers: Tragedy, Longman, 1998. http://www.amazon.com/Tragedy-Longman-Critical-Readers-Drakakis/dp/0582209978/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281556774&sr=1-1
- Helene Foley, Ritual Irony: Poetry and Sacrifice in Euripides, 1985, Cornell University Press, 1985. http://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Sacrifice-Euripides-Helene-Foley/dp/0801416922/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281556923&sr=1-6
- René Girard, Violence and the Sacred (translation of La violence et le sacré) 1977, Johns Hopkins University Press. Note in particular the chapter on Dionysus. http://www.amazon.com/Violence-Sacred-Ren%C3%A9-Girard/dp/0801822181/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281556983&sr=1-1
- Ian Johnston, An Introductory Note to Euripides’ Bacchae, 2001. Johhston has also translated the text and it is available online from this site.
- Siegfried Melchinger, Euripides, Ungar, 1973.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy (translation of Geburt der Tragödie), Oxford University Press, 2000 (and numerous other editions). http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Tragedy-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199540144/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281557077&sr=1-1
- Charles Segal, Dionysiac Poetics and Euripides’ Bacchae, Princeton University Press, 1982. http://www.amazon.com/Dionysiac-Poetics-Euripides-Bacchae-Charles/dp/069101597X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281557117&sr=1-1
- Jean Pierre Vernant, Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece(translation of Mythe et tragédie en Gréce ancienne) 1988, Zone Books, distributed by MIT Press.http://www.amazon.com/Tragedy-Ancient-Greece-Jean-Pierre-Vernant/dp/0942299191/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281557145&sr=1-1
- Intute (resources for study and research) has links to reliable academic resources on Euripides. http://www.intute.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search.pl?term1=Euripides&jacsheading=%25&
Unit 1 The Epic of Gilgamesh
The first known human story is that of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Images of artifacts from ancient Iraq mix with beautiful illustrations, dance, and costume to tell of the relations between gods and mortals, the search for friendship, love, and immortality. Featured cast members include Assyriologist Ben Foster, comic book illustrator Jim Starlin, and poet and playwright Yusef Komunyakaa.
Unit 2 My Name Is Red
Both an historical novel and a graphic murder mystery set among the miniaturists of the Ottoman court. With its focus on Istambul, a major crossroads of the world, it tells of the artistic/cultural contest between Europe and the East. Cast members include the book's Nobel-prize winning author, Orhan Pamuk, and its English translator, Erdağ Göknar.
Unit 3 The Odyssey
Odysseus must travel the known and unknown world before he can return home to his beloved island kingdom of Ithaca. What does this ancient story say to readers today? In this program, Odysseus's story is given ancient and modern historical and philosophical context, and illustrated with centuries of art. Featured are theater director Mary Zimmerman, actor-director Tim Blake-Nelson, and psychologist/author Jonathan Shay.
Unit 4 The Bacchae
The city of Thebes is torn apart by the conflicting demands of reason and religion, as the disguised god Dionysus returns to his home town demanding to be worshipped. Opposing him is the young king Pentheus, who is doomed to suffer the ultimate punishment for his disbelief. Featured speakers include world-renowned playwright/author Wole Soyinka, actor Alan Cumming, and Daniel Mendelsohn of Bard College.
Unit 5 The Bhagavad Gita
This epic tale of the warrior-prince Arjuna confronting a life-or-death dilemma during civil war presents a unique and powerful philosophy of duty, discipline, and serving a higher purpose. Beautiful illustrations connect the story with its rich history and culture. Featured speakers include Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit Studies and acclaimed composer Philip Glass.
Unit 6 The Tale of Genji
This portrait of court life in medieval Japan follows the life and exploits of the great Genji. Written by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Japanese court, it provides an insider's view of Japanese court life, the official and behind the screen. Art, clothing, music from the time of the novel illustrate the obserations of authors Jane Smiley and Chiori Miyagawa, among others.
Unit 7 Journey to the West
The powerful and mischievous Stone Monkey King brings chaos to heaven and earth. Freed from a mountain prison in order to guard a Chinese monk on his journey to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures from India, Monkey seeks his own spiritual transformation. Modern performance, contemporary art, and Buddhist philosophers provide a rich context to the ancient tale. Featured cast members include playwright David Henry Huang, storyteller Diane Wolkstein, and translator Professor Anthony Yu.
Unit 8 Popol Vuh
The Mayan book of creation, the dawn of life, and the glories of gods and kings. This magnificent epic was saved from destruction at the hands of the Spanish by Quiché chroniclers. Once repressed, the story is now interwoven with the history of today's Mayan people. Featured speakers include archaeologist Richard Hanson, humorist Mo Rocca, and Guatemalan artist Shuni Giron.
Unit 9 Candide
A satirical novel following the travails of Candide, a hopeless optimist whose faith in his tutor's mantra that his is "the best of all possible worlds" is tested beyond all limits. Voltaire's challenge to the aristocracy of his day proves refreshingly amusing and biting today. Original illustrations, songs, and comic book figures plumb the depths of this satire. Featured speakers include director Harold Ramis, actress Kristin Chenoweth, and cartoonist Chris Ware.
Unit 10 Things Fall Apart
In this foundational modern African novel, Chinua Achebe's story follows the lives of people trying to understand which belief systems deserve their loyalty. The protagonist, Okonkwo is a tribal leader who battles neighboring villages, the English, and his own demons in early colonial Nigeria. The perspectives of readers from around the world reveal the novel's universal themes. Cast members include playwright and professor Tess Onwueme and theater director Chuck Mike.
Unit 11 One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez's multigenerational saga of the Buendía family in the isolated town of Macondo inaugurated the boom in Latin American literature in the 1970s and marked the beginning of magical realism. Writer Sandra Cisneros and scholar of Latin American literature, Ilan Stavans lend their thoughts and voices to the discussion of this epic novel.
Unit 12 The God of Small Things
Fraternal twins Rahel and Estha struggle to reclaim their lives after their childhood is destroyed by tragic circumstances. As past and present merge in this narrative of Indian society and politics, the many layers of the caste system are mirrored in the poetic and inventive language of the author. Featured speakers include Simon Gikandi of Princeton University, author Evelyn Ch'ien.
Unit 13 The Thousand and One Nights
Shahrazad must hold the interest of her despotic husband the sultan with nightly tales, lest she lose her life in the morning. This wellspring of storytelling, circulating from medieval Persia to Egypt to Iraq, like its wily raconteur lives on in many modern adaptations. Art, performance, and film images are employed to show the collection's broad span of influence. Featured speakers include Marin Alsop, musical director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Aly Jetha and Shabnam Rezai, co-producers of the 1001 Nights animated series.