Louis MacNeice read classics at Oxford, and his professional life began as a lecturer in classics, before his career developed as a poet and broadcaster. Published in 1936 and intended primarily for the stage, MacNeice's version of The Agamemn was immediately recognised, in the words of T.S. Eliot, as 'an accurate, almost literal translation, and at the same time as English poetry for the twentieth century. For many readers of Greek, Aeschylus is revealed as a great poet and dramatist of contemporary importance.'
Louis MacNeice was born in Belfast in 1907, the son of a Church of Ireland rector, later a bishop. He was educated in England at Sherborne, Marlborough and Merton College, Oxford. His first book of poems, Blind Fireworks, appeared in 1929, and he subsequently worked as a translator, literary critic, playwright, autobiographer, BBC producer and feature writer. The Burning Perch, his last volume of poems, appeared shortly before his death in 1963.