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The Music of Tragedy

Performance and Imagination in Euripidean Theater

Naomi A. Weiss (Author)

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The Music of Tragedy offers a new approach to the study of classical Greek theater by examining the use of musical language, imagery, and performance in the late work of Euripides. Naomi Weiss demonstrates that Euripides’ allusions to music-making are not just metatheatrical flourishes or gestures towards musical and religious practices external to the drama but closely interwoven with the dramatic plot. Situating Euripides’ experimentation with the dramaturgical effects of mousike within a broader cultural context, she shows how much of his novelty lies in his reinvention of traditional lyric styles and motifs for the tragic stage. If we wish to understand better the trajectories of this most important ancient art form, The Music of Tragedy argues, we must pay closer attention to the role played by both music and text.
Naomi A. Weiss is Assistant Professor of Classics at Harvard University. She has published widely on ancient Greek poetry and performance culture, especially tragedy.
“Naomi Weiss offers a refreshing departure from traditional scholarship on Greek tragedy. Her close consideration of the place of music in Euripides’ later tragedies makes this an important and original book.”
Armand D’Angour, Associate Professor of Classics, Oxford University, and author of The Greeks and the New: Novelty in Ancient Greek Imagination and Experience
“This is a valuable work of scholarship that makes an important contribution to the study of Euripides and to broader questions about the development of Greek poetry. It should have a wide readership among the many scholars who are interested in these questions and will significantly advance ongoing discussions about Euripides’ distinctive use of the chorus and about the scope and significance of the 'New Music.’"
Sheila Murnaghan, Allen Memorial Professor of Greek, University of Pennsylvania

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