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Herakles Gone Mad
Rethinking Heroism in an Age of Endless War
Robert Emmet Meagher

6" x 9" • 224 pages
ISBN 9781566566353 • paperback • $15.00

A decorated hero returns home after multiple tours of duty only to find the lives of his loved ones threatened. To make his home safe, he does battle one last time—one time too many. He slays his enemies but then, unable in his rage to tell friend from foe, murders his wife and children. He blacks out, and, when his wits return, his only thoughts are of death. Then a friend whose life he once saved in battle arrives, offering his hand and his heart. The long road home begins.

Story of post-traumatic stress disorder of soldiers returning from Iraq? No—Euripides. No playwright, ancient or contemporary, has written with greater power and poignancy about war and its enduring wounds than has this Greek who lived 24 centuries ago and was himself a veteran. Euripides’ misunderstood masterpiece, Herakles Gone Mad, a play for dark times, reveals both the wreckage of war and the luminous power of love.

In this volume, the distinguished author, translator, educator, and playwright Robert Emmet Meagher presents a new eminently actable translation of Euripides’ Herakles along with a concise commentary on the play and an extensive essay on the trauma of war, the true face of heroism, and the healing power of friendship and community.


Robert Emmet Meagher
is professor of humanities at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and the author or translator of nearly two dozen books. Meagher is best known for his theatrical translations of Euripides, most of which have been commissioned by Irene Papas, with whom he has frequently collaborated. The late Michael Joyce, of the National Theatre of Great Britain and the Samuel Beckett Centre, cited Meagher as “the finest living translator of Greek drama.”


Media Reviews
"An eloquent and memorable study of Herakles Gone Mad and a wonderfully performable,vivid new translation of the play." -Jonathan Shay, author of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming

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Of Related Interest:
Pocket Explorer: Ancient Greek World
Ancient Greece
Surviving Iraq