This new comic-book version of Euripides’ classic The Trojan Women follows the fates of Hekabe, Andromache and Kassandra after Troy has been sacked and all its men killed. The Trojan Women is a wildly imaginative collaboration between the visual artist Rosanna Bruno and the poet and classicist Anne Carson. Both wacky and devastating, the book gives a genuine representation of how human beings are affected by warfare. All the characters take the form of animals (except Kassandra, whose mind is in another world).
Anne Carson collaborated with artist Bianca Stone on their Sophokles reimagining, Antigonick, published by Bloodaxe in 2012. This new collaboration with Rosanna Bruno couldn’t be more different. Rosanna Bruno is an artist who makes paintings, comics and bad puns. Her first book, The Slanted Life of Emily Dickinson (Andrews McMeel, 2017), is a book of cartoons based on the myth of her life.
‘… it’s a joy to come across a mistress of the art taking rumbustious pleasure in revisiting the matter of poetry itself. Anne Carson’s new version of Euripides’ The Trojan Women, with artist and cartoonist Rosanna Bruno, is resolutely subtitled A Comic; and a graphic novel is exactly what it is. But of course the words are Carson’s. Simultaneously straight-talking and experimental, the Canadian has been reclaiming the classical tradition as an essential resource since the 1980s.’ - Fiona Sampson, The Guardian
‘Carson and Bruno have risen to an unusual challenge. Their medium’s conventions could have flattened distinctive literary qualities, but their book instead refocuses our attention on Euripides’ styles. The format highlights this play’s outstanding quality, praised by Sidney as ‘sweet violence’. That phrase was borrowed by Terry Eagleton to entitle his own book on the tragic (2002), in which he said that tragedy can only survive as a twenty-first-century art form if it is metaphysically open, aesthetically beautiful and unflinching in its depiction of suffering. All three criteria are fulfilled by this innovative version of Trojan Women.’ – Edith Hall, Times Literary Supplement
'And if at first The Trojan Women: A Comic might seem impenetrable, it is no more strange, no more "other", than its ancient source, which mixed ritual terror with everyday, lived experience and black humour to the discomfort of its original Athenian audience. Above all, Carson's extraordinary language and Bruno's hugely physical drawings compel us to enter its endless, primeval cycle of suffering and trauma with empathy and compassion, keeping it ancient but making it new.' - Jo Balmer, One Hand Clapping
‘This fantastic collaboration between the artist Rosanna Bruno and the poet and classicist Anne Carson, based on Euripides’ famous tragedy, may look like a lark (and in many ways is one), but swiftly starts landing wallops... Bruno’s stunningly to-the-point ink paintings tell a tale almost unendurably rife with betrayals, destruction, suffering, lamentations.’ – Barbara Epler, TANK Magazine, on The Trojan Women: a comic
‘The Trojan Women: A Comic uses visual metaphor, inventive panel-to-panel storytelling and the specific narrative tools of comics (particular mention for the effectiveness of the chorus scenes here) together to give us a treatment of the original play that will undoubtedly prove an entry point to the work of Euripides to the uninitiated, but will also allow those familiar with the text to see it through new eyes.’ – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier
‘Delightful, unexpected and provocative interpretations abound… comics’ great ability to exploit action and drama using unusual imagery, one frozen moment at a time, serves to make key scenes even more unexpected and affecting… compelling and impressive…’ – Chrissy Williams, The Poetry Review
'...an odd and memorable retelling whose surface wackiness belies the thoughtfulness of its multivalent translation and visual storytelling, a truly original reworking of Euripides' tragedy - one for fans of comic books and classics, and especially collaborative encounters between the two.' - Hilary White, PN Review
'To classify Anne Carson's version of Euripides’ play The Trojan Women as a translation is to use the term lightly, for, in collaboration with Rosanna Bruno, she has transformed it into a graphic novel, fiercely experimental in both word and image... Carson’s aim in recent works is clearly to unsettle her audience—she offers straight talk one minute and madcap play the next. In The Trojan Women, her remarkably synthesizing imagination brings traditional Greek drama and the contemporary comic book into strange and wonderful balance.' - Rita Signorelli-Pappas, World Literature Today
'What do you get when you cross Euripides’ classic tragedy, the artistic stylings of Rosanna Bruno, and the poetic touch of Anne Carson? This book! Here’s what we know: Troy has been ravaged. Everyone is depicted as an animal (except Kassandra, who is another planet, which actually makes complete sense when you think about it). Need I say more?' – LitHub
Click on VIEW EXTRACT below to see some sample pages from Trojan Women.
'In her classical translations, Carson has pursued what T.S. Eliot called “a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity”.' – Will Harrison, BOMB
'Rosanna Bruno’s speculative look at Emily Dickinson’s social media feed is so hysterical, you may find yourself with a case of the vapors. ' – Alison Bechdel
'Anne Carson is a daring, learned, unsettling writer.' – Susan Sontag
From the reviews of Antigonick by Anne Carson and Bianca Stone:
'The comic-book translation is zingy and modern... Carson has perfectly captured Antigone's moral fervour and her almost erotic desire for death. The snappiness of her translation hits a different note from Sophocles, but this edition is a treat none the less' – Natalie Haynes, The Observer
'Unlike versions of Antigone that try to capture the drama's grandeur (such as Robert Fagles's translation for Penguin) or to make it relevant (including Don Taylor's version, currently at the National Theatre), Carson's aims to show the difficulty of translation, the truly "unbearable" nature of tragedy' – Emily Stokes, The Guardian
'Antigonick questions what it means to translate Greek drama... For Carson, her uncompromising solutions are little kidnaps in the dark, a trail of softly glowing lamps that mark the way through the centuries and out of the shadows' – Josephine Balmer, The Times
'Antigonick by Anne Carson; everything this classicist-poet writes is worth repeated close reading. This is also a beautiful book.' - Candia McWilliam, Sunday Herald, Books of the Year 2013
Anne Carson & Rosanna Bruno: Trojan Women launch
Anne Carson and Rosanna Bruno read from The Trojan Women and discuss their new comic-book version of Euripides’ tragedy with bookseller Ryan Cook in this online launch event organised by New York’s McNally Jackson Books on 27 May. Anne Carson was at home in Ann Arbor, Rosanna Bruno in her studio in Saratoga Springs, and Ryan Cook at home in Brooklyn.
North America: New Directions
Ireland & EU: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin
USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or Bookshop.org