In graduate school, we translated the knotty Greek of Aristophanes and guffawed at the ancient jokes. The chorus of frogs is hilarious in The Frogs as they croak their Greek frog sound: “Brekekekex koax koax.”
In this day and age they probably dare not teach Aristophanes without issuing “trigger alerts.”
And so I was thrilled by a recent sighting of Aristophanes in The New York Times T Magazine. Michael Stipe, the singer for R.E.M., my favorite broken-up rock band, shared his “Top 10 Favorite Books.”
One of them is Four Plays by Aristophanes, translated by William Arrowsmith. (It includes The Birds, The Clouds, The Frogs, and Lysistrata.)
Stipe says, “I love the bawdiness and audacity of both writer and translator.”
The book will be in stock at Amazon on Sept. 2, so I can only suppose there was a rush after the article was published.
Congrats to Stipe for making Aristophanes a best-seller, or if not a best-seller, a good seller!
Below is a photo of of Nathan Lane and the chorus of frogs in The Frogs, a musical adaptation of Aristophanes’ play by Stephen Sondheim and Burt Shevelove.