Aeschylus Became Fashionable in Early 19th-Century England

face of a prisoner

Classical Greek tragedies attributed to Aeschylus were scarcely known in England in the mid-eighteenth century. A literary scholar has noted:

Fielding’s endearing portrait of Abraham Adams forever lost in the intricacies of his Aeschylus {in Joseph Andrews, published in 1742} depends for part of its effect on a general ignorance of Greek drama among all but the most highly educated of his readers.^

In 1759, Charlotte Lennox translated from French Father Pierre Brumoy’s Le Theatre des Grecs (1730). That work included a summary of Prometheus Bound.^ In 1773, Prometheus Bound became the first tragedy attributed to Aeschylus to be printed in English translation. By 1825, more than 20 editions of Aeschylus had been printed in England.^ Among tragedies attributed to Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound attracted considerable attention. Ideas from Prometheus Bound are important in the early nineteenth-century literary masterpieces The Cenci, Prometheus Unbound, and Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

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