The arrival of this book yesterday has brought something wonderful to my weekend. Many of you have been subjected to my near idolatrous love of Nox, and know that anything Anne Carson is involved with is an object of book lust for me. The production value of Nox brought joy to me that such exceptional content should find a home in something so beautiful and thoughtfully assembled. New Directions has always been a favorite publisher of mine for their author list (Tennessee Williams, William Carlos Williams, Roberto Bolano and Muriel Spark being especially admired in a list where nothing is not book lust worthy), but the investment they made in producing Nox endeared them to me forever. And they extended another outrageously generous gift to readers in this Carson translation.
From the New Directions blog:
Carson has hand-lettered the text on the pages (see below), and artist Bianca Stone (a former student of Carson's) has provided color illustrations, which are being printed on translucent vellum pages. The end result being that the two will work together, the ghostly presentiment of the text-to-come enhancing the illustrations.
The translation itself is simply beautiful. She's playful with the language and the plot (the chorus has a decidedly sarcastic tone; Kreon enters on a motorboat), and yet it's still the fundamentally human story about death and honor, ethics and the law. It is, essentially what it was when it was written about 2500 years ago: a timeless classic.
The impact of the text peeping through the illustrations on vellum is best captured by the description on the ND blog as "ghosting through."
And the arrangement of thoughts in isolation on certain pages is powerful.
So I am starting to read this as soon as I click "Publish Now" here. And I am cheating. I am reading all the chorus sections first. To pick up the tone, the voice of that tool in this translation. And then a read from cover to cover.