Out of the Margins

15 SEPTEMBER 2023 - 06 OCTOBER 2023
The Bacchae of Euripides 1. Cover 2. Annotations 3. Headshot
The Bacchae of Euripides
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44. Wole Soyinka

The Bacchae of Euripides

The Bacchae of Euripides 
Signed and annotated 
First edition paperback 
18.5 x 12.1 cm 
London: Eyre Methuen, 1973

ESTIMATE


£1,000 - 10,000

This auction has now ended

Out of the Margins (44/55)

Notes


"I could not believe my luck!" begins Wole Soyinka's annotations, as he recounts the backstory to the commission of the play, and neither can we: we are so honoured to have this beautiful contribution to the auction from a legendary Nobel Prize winning playwright. Wole Soyinka wrote The Bacchae of Euripides - his adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy - during his exile in Britain. It was first performed on 2 August 1973 at the Old Vic. In 1986 Wole became the first sub-Saharan African to be honoured in the Literature category of the Nobel Prize, for his work "in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashioning the drama of existence". 

A rare opportunity to own an annotated edition of a play by Wole Soyinka, given most of his collection is now in archive. Wole told us about the background of this edition of The Bacchae of Euripides: "It has a history of some interest. The British National Theatre had commissioned adaptations from several authors, including, I recall, the feminist Betty Friedan. In the end, it zeroed on mine. In the haste to bring out the performance edition simultaneously with opening night - under the Play Text series - the editors had overlooked interpolations, substitutions from other translations/adaptations, mainly Arrowsmith's. For all I know, there may even be a line or two from the Friedan text! The discovery was not made until years afterwards. Arrowsmith was very understanding, so I was spared time in the Plagiarist Stocks! Rectification was made in time for the formal publication in this Methuen Theatre Classics - of course I accepted responsibility for the entire lapse!"

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