Adventures with Iphigenia in Tauris A Cultural History of Euripides' Black Sea Tragedy

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-12-21
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Human sacrifice, a spirited heroine, a quest ending in a hairsbreadth escape, the touching reunion of long-lost siblings, and exquisite poetry--these features have historically made Euripides'Iphigenia in Taurisone of the most influential of Greek tragedies. Yet, despite its influence and popularity in the ancient world, the play remains curiously under-investigated in both mainstream cultural studies and more specialized scholarship. WithAdventures with Iphigenia in Tauris, Edith Hall provides a much-needed cultural history of this play, giving as much weight to the impact of the play on subsequent Greek and Roman art and literature as on its manifestations since the discovery of the sole surviving medieval manuscript in the 1500s. The book argues that the reception of the play is bound up with its spectacular setting on the southern coast of the Crimean peninsula in what is now the Ukraine, a territory where world history has often been made. However, it also shows that the play's tragicomic tenor and escape plot have had a tangible influence on popular culture, from romantic fiction to Hollywood action films. The thirteen chapters illustrate how reactions to the play have evolved from the ancient admiration of Aristotle and Ovid, the Christian responses of Milton and Catherine the Great, the anthropological ritualists and theatrical Modernists including James Frazer and Isadora Duncan, to recent feminist and postcolonial dramatists from Mexico to Australia. Individual chapters are devoted to the most significant adaptations of the tragedy, Gluck's operaIphignie en Taurideand Goethe's verse dramaIphigenie auf Tauris. Richly illustrated and accessibly written, with all texts translated into English,Adventures withIphigenia in Taurisargues elegantly for a reappraisal of this Euripidean masterpiece.

Author Biography

Edith Hall is Professor of Classics at King's College London.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Map 1: Iphigenia's Adventures 400 BCE to 500 CE
Map 2: Iphigenia's Adventures since Dante
Preface: The Play, its Myth, and the Date of its First Production
Chapter I:Rediscovering Tauris
Chapter II: Iphigenia, Quest Heroine
Chapter III: Travel Tragedy
Chapter IV: Plots and Pots
Chapter V: Orestes, Pylades, and Roman Men
Chapter VI: Imperial Escapades
Chapter VII: Escorts of Artemis
Chapter VIII: Iphigenia's Christian Conversion
Chapter IX: Gluck's Iphigénie in Pain
Chapter X: Goethe's Iphigenie between Germany and the World
Chapter XI: Rites of Modernism
Chapter XII: Women's Adventures with Iphigenia
Chapter XIII: Decolonising Thoas
Abbreviations and Bibliography

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