In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

398 LETTERS IN CANADA 1982 The volume is, in effect, a collection of essays which are drawn together by a fifty-page 'literary commentary' which traces through the play important motifs like those of error, good sense, responsibility, disease, gratitude, and kairos (the right thing for the right context). The preceding chapters look at the adaptation of the earlier myths, and at the dynamic flow imparted by the ever-extending prophecies (which eventually go too far and predict the fall of Zeus). Other essays look at the problems of the reconstruction of the rest of a trilogy and at the closely connected question of whether Zeus will later have become rather more acceptable than the macho bully of the surviving play. The most stimulatingchapter, in many respects, examines Prometheus's speeches on the development of human skills in relation to fifth-century anthropological speculation, suggesting that the discovery of civic arts is being held up for a later stage of the (putative) trilogy. One cannot but sympathize with Conacher's unspoken but evident wish that there were no authenticity problem. Yet he is far too conscientious to dally with passing methodologies which do away with authors and hence with authorship disputes. Mark Griffith's book The Authenticity of Prometheus Bound (Cambridge 1977) has for the first time put the ball in the court of the defenders of Aeschylean authorship; and Conacher's return shots, though spirited, do not clear the net. It is especially special pleading to claim that some features of the play are so unlike the rest of Aeschylus that they can hardly be attributed to an imitator - an imitator is not the same as a forger. Fortunately, the value of this book is not greatly affected if the play is not by Aeschylus, since it consists largely of analysis and explication of the work and not of its author. The volume itself is well designed and produced, though there are rather a lot of misprints in the Greek. It is a pity that it could not have included a reproduction of the important Apulean vase painting of Prometheus Unbound in Berlin, first published in 1970. This might have led to second thoughts on the binding of Prometheus to a 'post' (p 181) and on the alleged role of the centaur Chiron (p 113) who is absent from the painting. That I am reduced to points of this sort may be some indication of the book's thorough scholarship and good sense. (OLIVER TAPLIN) Douglas E. Gerber. Pindar's Olympian One: A Commentary Phoenix Supplementary Volume xv, University of Toronto Press. xx, 202. $47·5° Few scholars have a better knowledge of Pindaric studies than Douglas Gerber, author of A Bibliography ofPindar 1513-1966, Emendations in Pindar 1513- 1972, and surveys in Classical World. Now he has focused his attention on a single poem, one of the most famous, important, and beau- HUMANITIES 399 tiful of the odes, and has written an extended commentary on it, analysing the language, thought, myth, structure, and poetic technique. Almost every word of the poem receives attention; the commentary on the first line alone occupies the best part of six pages. The great strength of the book is the bibliographical material. Full references are given to relevant literature at the appropriate places, and in the case of the many cruces earlier views are carefully listed before they are assessed: for example, eight reasons are catalogued for Pindar's description of water as 'best.' Even 'remote' possibilities (25), 'pointless' suggestions (27), and 'obvious nonsense' (155) are included 'for the sake of completeness.' Only once does the author's patience give out: at v 81 he contents himself with the remark, 'The precise sense intended here has been much disputed,' but a note of other views would have been welcome, since Gerber's interpretation may not win general acceptance. At v 93 he should have mentioned the plaUSible view that the altar is not that of Pelops but the great altar of Zeus at Olympia. Reference to Dover's Greek Homosexuality 198 at v 45 would have helped to demolish Furtwangler's interpretation. A short review cannot do more than note a few of...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 398-401
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.