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Title: The Helix of Dionysus. Musical Imagery in Later Euripidean Drama
Authors: Tsolakidou, Aikaterini
Advisors: Ford, Andrew L.
Contributors: Classics Department
Subjects: Classical literature
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation studies the musical imagery contained in the choral and monodic lyrics of four major later Euripidean dramas: the Trojan Women, the Phoenician Women, the Hypsipyle and the Helen. Its aim is to show that such lyrics engage in a fundamental and systematic reflection on tragedy's internal musical discourse and poetics, and to further our understanding of the tragic genre's self-conception as a form of song and mousikê. A strong and recurrent focus in all these odes is on the god of theater and my reading illuminates the special value of the references to song, dance and music in connection to Dionysus. The thesis is divided into four chapters: the first chapter shows how the lyrics of Euripides' Trojan Women effect the `orientalization' and Dionysization of hallowed and authoritative Greek poetic forms when they are transplanted and alluded to in the odes of the Dionysiac genre of tragedy. Chapter two discusses the odes of the Phoenician Women as the quintessential topos for reflecting on the poetics of tragic and Dionysiac mousikê. Chapter three turns to the Hypsipyle in order to trace the confrontation and the final reconciliation of two disparate musical forces, the Orphic and the Dionysiac. Finally, chapter four demonstrates that the choral lyrics of the Helen ponder the beginnings of tragic lamentation and music, representing tragic song as a form of female, ecstatic, Dionysiac, archetypal music. The lyrics of the plays studied in this thesis consciously foreground tragic song as new and distinctively Dionysiac and at the same time as an old, originary form of mousikê. This characteristic Euripidean move is a gesture of legitimization and valorization of the poetics of the controversial New Music, of which later Euripidean lyrics offer prime instantiations; at the same time, it is a gesture of cultural colonization which allows the tragic medium to establish for itself a place of priority in the hierarchy of the Greek tradition by claiming for its mousikê a position at the very beginning of the ancient and revered poetic traditions that are evoked in the tragic lyrics.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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