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Poetry Ancient, Classical & Medieval

Theogony / Works and Days

translated by C.S. Morrissey

by (author) First Hesiod

Initial publish date
Aug 2012
Ancient, Classical & Medieval
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2012
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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2012
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C.S. Morrissey’s brilliant translations bring a modern, lyrical sensibility to Theogony and Works and Days, Hesiod’s two great poems that paved the way for subsequent achievements in Greek philosophy. Theogony tells of the first generations of the gods and recollects how Zeus established his cosmic reign of justice. Works and Days examines the two-fold role of competition in life, what Hesiod calls “the bad strife” and “the good strife” and how they affect our struggle to maintain order in the wake of chaos and the primeval void.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

C.S. Morrissey is a professor of philosophy at Trinity Western University, where he also teaches courses in the Latin language and in Greek and Roman history. He studied Greek and Latin at the University of British Columbia and has taught courses in these languages and in other classical subjects at Simon Fraser University. Morrissey specializes in philosophical theology and his recent focus has been on its genesis in the monotheistic speculations of Hesiod and Plato. He has also published on the mediaeval Latin philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and his commentatorial tradition, which includes John Poinsot, a.k.a. John of St. Thomas, from whom we may trace a foundational doctrine of signs for the interdisciplinary field of semiotics. Morrissey’s current research explores how Eric Voegelin’s philosophical studies of the historical processes of symbolization complement the pioneering interdisciplinary work by semiotician and linguist Thomas Albert Sebeok.

Editorial Reviews

“C.S. Morrissey places a very modern sensibility under the light of these precious verses, and his translations remind us at every point that Hesiod’s gods are still with us, not as subjects to be worshipped and appeased through sacrifice, but as enduring motives that govern and disrupt our lives.”
– Roger Scruton, from the foreword

“Morrissey’s version … has a gnomic quality, and we do feel as if we are glimpsing the art of an ancient poet. … At the same time, the book does not discount the possibility of being used for academic purposes … this translation works effectively as a source for the myths which is uncommonly mindful of historical circumstances surrounding its composition, which we are at times in danger of forgetting. … Morrissey’s diligent style and innovative framing devices provide a new and helpful context to read and re-read some of the great founding narratives of classical literature.”
Glasgow Review of Books

“We may look back to Hesiod’s poetry as representative of a cultural Golden Age when it was possible for a single work of literature to encompass the whole of traditional ‘wisdom’: high and low, ancient and modern, philosophical and poetic, practical and metaphysical.”
– New Republic

Morrissey has brought fire and light to Hesiod's work, and offered it to us with clarity and good humour, in the darkening air of our time."
Vallum: Contemporary Poetry (issue 10:1): 85–87.