Visiting Yale Divinity School library fellow Sarah Ruden awarded Guggenheim

Sarah Ruden, a visiting library fellow at Yale Divinity School since 2007, is one of five scholars at Yale selected as a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010.

Under the Guggenheim Fellowships, “advanced professionals” are awarded grants of up to one year to use in any manner they choose to advance their work, to provide them with as much creative freedom as possible.  With her fellowship, Ruden will translate the Oresteia trilogy of Aeschylus while she spends a year as a visitor at Wesleyan University.

Ruden“What I really want to achieve is a version of these three important Greek tragedies that's fit for the stage, not just for classroom reading,” said Ruden, a Quaker.  “The plays have everything: ethereal lyrics, murder, madness, demons, and a myth about the beginning of the rule of law. They're extremely obscure, but their beauty lures a translator into endless work in the hope of penetrating that obscurity.

“After the Oresteia, I hope to undertake another book on the Bible to follow up on Paul among the People (Random House, 2010). I will always be grateful to YDS; if it turns out that I can in fact become a Biblical scholar at this late stage of my life, then this institution should get the credit.”

Ruden has been particularly concerned with making ancient literature clear, appealing, and informative for readers who have little or no background in ancient languages. Her biography on the Guggenheim web site notes that Ruden’s scholarship has concentrated on literary translation of the Greek and Roman classics, with published translations of the Satyricon of Petronius (Hackett, 2000), Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (Hackett, 2003), the Homeric Hymns (Hackett, 2005), and Vergil’s Aeneid (Yale University Press, 2008).

She studied at the University of Michigan, Harvard, and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and has taught classics and creative writing at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Ruden’s publications also include poems, essays, and investigative journalism.  In 1996, she won South Africa’s then leading book prize, the Central News Agency Literary Award, for her collection of poems, Other Places (William Waterman Publications, Johannesburg, 1995).