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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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Tables and Figures


Table 1 Development of ‘Identification Motif ’ 495–7 Table 2 The Motif of Ambitions/Fears for Astyanax’s Future 497–503 Figure 1 Self-sacrificing exchanges between Pylades and Orestes in the Iphigenia in Tauris plays 525 Figure 2 Agamemnon’s speech in Racine’s Iphigénie I.1 526 Figure 3 Astyanax’s resemblance to Hector motif 526

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