Antigones - Steiner, George - Yale University Press

Literary Studies
Performing Arts


How the Antigone Legend Has Endured in Western Literature, Art, and Thought

  • George Steiner
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According to Greek legend, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, secretly buried her brother in defiance of the order of Creon, king of Thebes. Sentenced to death by Creon, she forestalled him by committing suicide. The theme of the conflict between Antigone and Creon—between the state and the individual, between man and woman, between young and old—has captured the Western imagination for more than 2000 years. George Steiner here examines the far-reaching legacy of this great classical myth. He considers its treatment in Western art, literature, and thought—in drama, poetry, prose, philosophic discourse, political tracts, opera, ballet, film, and even the plastic arts.  A study in poetics and in the philosophy of reading, Antigones leads us to look again at the influence the Greek myths exercise on twentieth-century culture.

"A remarkable feat of intellectual agility."—Washington Post Book World

"[An] intellectually demanding but rewarding book. . . consistently stimulating and sometimes disturbing."—The New Republic

"An. . . account of the various treatments of the Antigone theme in European languages. . . Penetrating and novel."—The New York Times Book Review

"A tradition of intelligence and style lives in this prolific man."—Los Angeles Times

"Antigones triumphantly demonstrates that Antigone could fill several volumes of study without becoming tedious or exhausted."—The New York Review of Books

George Steiner was recently Lord Weidenfeld Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at Oxford University. He is a well-known reviewer for the New Yorker, the Times Literary Supplement, and other American and European journals, and he is the author of numerous books that have been translated into a dozen languages. His latest book is No Passion Spent, published by Yale University Press.


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