The House of Atreus


Translated by John Lewin
Introduction by Tyrone Guthrie

The House of Atreus, adapted by John Lewin was first published in 1966. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This adaptation of the classic Greek trilogy is designed for contemporary stage presentation and is the version to be used by the Minnesota Theatre Company or its production of the work at the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. The volume provides the texts of the three plays, Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Furies, and, in addition, a director’s introduction by Sir Tyrone Guthrie and an adapter’s introduction by John Lewin.

In his introduction, Guthrie points out that fidelity neither to the literal meaning of the original nor to the distinctive spirit of the Oresteia is necessarily the supreme virtue for a stage version of this work. In performance, he explains, the music of verse is almost as important in conveying its meaning as is the syntax, and thus this version, The House of Atreus, with its simple and lyrical choruses, has been created to provide an interesting and vivid dramatic vehicle.

In a perceptive and illuminating discussion of the plays in his introduction, John Lewin demonstrates the need for the kinds of changes he has made in the scripts.

John Lewin was a Minnesota Theatre Company playwright in residence.

Tyrone Guthrie (1900-1971) was theatrical director of the Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells. He was founder and director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was also instrumental in founding Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival. He is the author of several books about life in the theater, including A New Theatre, available from the University of Minnesota Press.

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