23 APRIL 1937, Page 30

FOUR DRAMAS OF EURIPIDES Translated by H. 0. Meredith

Professor H. 0. Meredith has trans- lated, as a parergon to his studies in economics, the Hecuba, the Heracles, the Andromache and the Orestes of Euripides. His translations (Allen and Unwin, 7s. 6d.) are designed for the theatre, but they make heavy reading and undoubtedly would be difficult to render convincingly on the stage. Pro- fessor Meredith has not solved adequr.nly the three big problems which confront the modem translator of a Greek play— how to make the. give-and-take of your stichomuthia flexible, and indicative of a real clash between the speakers ; how to lend variety of rhythm to the long, often rather dull, speeches which are an essential element in these plays ; and how to translate the choruses into words which can be sung by a modern chorus and which neither. faintly recall Swinburne, nor lack grace of form and phrase. His translations are occasionally defaced by unnecessarily odd words- " spancelled," " Ochone " look out of place in an English rendering of Euri- pides. But on the whole they are considerably more temperate and effec- tive than most of the translations which have recently appeared, and he has written a general introduction in which he says a number of wise things about Euripides.