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Cheshire Publishes Modern Translation of Sophocles Tragedy

Murder at Jagged Rock cover
'Murder at Jagged Rock' cover

Associate Professor and Chair of Classics Keyne Cheshire translates from the Greek all of the poetry, drama and tragedy of The Women of Trachis by Sophocles into the territory of American myth–the Wild West.

Cheshire's new translation, Murder at Jagged Rock (Word Works, 2015, 112 pages), creates a world both familiar and distant, with harsh landscapes and larger-than-life heroes. It is a world that still resonates within the American psyche.

Says Kenneth J. Reckford, "I was first shocked, then moved and delighted by Cheshire's translation of Sophocles' Trachinian Women into an American vernacular and Wild West setting. Poetic and rhythmical speeches propel the reader forward and deeper into Sophocles' tragedy, while the choral odes give voice to lastingly powerful feelings of hope and fear, spiritual exultation and earth-bound sadness and pain."

The mythic Wild West was the perfect setting for his translation, said Cheshire: "With its harshness and stark oppositions, it is a place where deep questions are confronted through conflict."

The songs from Murder at Jagged Rock have been performed at Davidson College, set to the music of guitar, banjo, upright bass, fiddle and mandolin. Currently, Cheshire is translating Aristophanes' Birds and Homer's Iliad.

Watch live readings of Murder at Jagged Rock.

Listen to a podcast with Cheshire and student music collaborator Jon Springfield '11.

Purchase Murder at Jagged Rock from Word Works.