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Hellenic Whispers

Modes of Greek Literary Influence in Seventeenth-Century French Drama


Susanna Phillippo

Hellenic Whispers builds a picture of how Greek literature was received and reworked by the authors of seventeenth-century French tragedy. Using case studies, the author establishes a new methodology for exploring the variety of responses and creative processes involved in these encounters with classical Greek material. The book explores the complex interactions surrounding these adaptations of Greek dramatic material, involving the input of scribes, editors, translators and earlier authors, and asks the important question of what these dramatists conceived of themselves as doing. Focusing on a time and place where cultural predilections and a lack of linguistic training made engagement with the original Greek texts problematic, the book explores the creative role of intermediary sources, the build-up of chain reactions between sources and the cumulative processes of recreation involved in the genesis of seventeenth-century dramatic texts. The volume also goes on to explore wider questions relevant to the classical tradition and issues of ‘source study’ and reception.


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Note on Quotations and Translations


It is in order here to provide some explanation of the policy which I have followed when quoting from non-English primary texts and in supplying translations of these. In an ideal world, everything would have been quoted in the original language with English translations supplied; but the scale of this book rendered that impracticable. I have therefore adopted the follow- ing compromise policy. i. All quotations from French primary texts are given in the original language. ii. Quotations from other primary texts not in English are given in the original language in those cases (the majority) where the precise original wording is important to the argument. iii. English translations are given for all Greek and Latin quotations of this kind, with the exception of Latin quotations from sixteenth-/seven- teenth-century Latin translations where these are given alongside the original Greek text (since the English translation of the latter gives the main sense). iv. Original language quotations from texts in French, Medieval French, German and Italian are not translated (with the exception of a few in Middle High German, because of the dif ficulty of this). v. Unless otherwise stated, all translations are my own. With regard to quotations from classical Greek texts, where I am talking about the Greek works in their own right, or in relation to the links between these and Latin authors, I quote from the modern Oxford Classical Text. Most of the time, however, I am talking about Euripides’ plays in relation to the use made of...

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