Stuttard, David (Ed.). 2023. Looking at Persians. London: Bloomsbury.
Aeschylus’ Persians is unique in being the only extant Greek tragedy on an historical subject: Greece’s victory in 480 BC over the great Persian King, Xerxes, eight years before the play was written and first performed in 472 BC. Looking at Persians examines how Aeschylus responded to such a turning point in Athenian history and how his audience may have reacted to his play. As well as considering the play’s relationship with earlier lost tragedies and discussing its central themes, including war, nature and the value of human life, the volume considers how Persians may have been staged in fifth-century Athens and how it has been performed today.
The twelve essays presented here are written by prominent international academics and offer insightful analyses of the play from the perspectives of performance, history and society. Intended for readers ranging from school students and undergraduates to teachers and those interested in drama (including practitioners), this volume also includes an accurate, accessible and performance-friendly English translation of Persians by David Stuttard.
Table of Contents
Introduction – Persians in Context (David Stuttard, Goodenough College, UK)
- Persians on Stage (Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge, UK)
- Athens and Persia, 472 BCE (Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, Cardiff University, UK)
- Persians’ First Audience (Robert Garland, Colgate University, USA)
- Imperial Stirrings in Aeschylus’ Persians (Sophie Mills, University of North Carolina at Asheville, USA)
- Homeric Echoes on the Battlefield of Persians (Laura Swift, The Open University, UK)
- Individual and Collective in Persians (Michael Carroll, University of St Andrews, UK)
- Land, Sea and Freedom: The Force of Nature in Aeschylus’ Persians (Rush Rehm, Stanford University, USA)
- The Persians Love Their Children Too: Common Humanity in Persians (Alan Sommerstein, University of Nottingham, UK)
- Atossa (Hanna Roisman, Colby College, Maine, USA)
- Theatrical Ghosts in Persians and Elsewhere (Anna Uhlig, University of California, USA)
- Words and Pictures (Carmel McCallum-Barry, formerly of University College, Ireland)
- National Theatre Wales, The Persians (2010) (Mike Pearson, University of Aberystwyth, UK)
Aeschylus Persians, translated by David Stuttard (Goodenough College, UK)