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FA-50273-04

Seth L. Schein
University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)

An Edition with Commentary of Sophocles's "Philoctetes"

I am seeking support for an edition with commentary of Sophocles' Philoctetes (409 B.C.E), which I have been invited to prepare for the "Greek and Latin Classics" series published by Cambridge University Press. Mine will be the first English-language edition with commentary of Philoctetes in almost 100 years to provide adequate morphological, grammatical, and syntactic help for relatively inexperienced students, as well as the kind o observations on language, meter, rhetoric, style, dramaturgy, and performance that are appropriate for more advanced students and scholars. I will integrate textual and literary commentary and offer a more sophisticated literary and cultural interpretation of the play in its mythological, historical, social, and institutional context than is currently available in any edition or commentary, with particular attention to ethical and political ideas and values, dramatic characterization, relations between divinity and humanity, intertextuality between the play and the Homeric epics, and ways in which the play derives meaning from its late fifth-century Athenian intellectual, cultural, and political contexts. Philoctetes is a relatively, and undeservedly, neglected play; it is not read by either specialists or non specialists as often as other Sophoclean dramas such as Oedipus the King, Antigone, and Electra. Yet poetically and dramatically it is a s engaging and rewarding as these works, and the ethical issues it raises--about, e.g., traditional social and moral values in a changed world, political innocence and experience, the exploitation and subordination of individuals to a community's political needs and desires, and the right of individuals to resist such exploitation--are highly relevant for our times. My edition should make the play better known and more widely studied. In this way, I hope to contribute to increased understanding by scholars, students, and general readers of this moving, thought-provoking and timely work.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2004 – 6/30/2005