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Hofmannsthal and Greek Myth: Expression and Performance


Philip Ward

Throughout his career the Austrian dramatist Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) turned repeatedly to Greek myth for his material. This book sets out to uncover his reasons for doing so. The results provide not only new insights into his work but a case-study in the reception of the Classics in fin-de-siècle Vienna. Ranging widely over Hofmannsthal’s achievements in drama, opera and the dance, this study is the first to provide a solid context for his ‘Greek’ works, both in the intellectual debates of his time – on such issues as psychoanalysis, feminism and the ‘crisis of language’ – and in contemporary performance practice.
Contents: Myth, Hofmannsthal and the Greeks – ‘Tragedy’ in 1900: translation, rewriting and performance – Ödipus und die Sphinx and the mythologisation of the psyche – Elektra and the representation of women’s behaviour through myth – Greek myth, ‘pantomime’ and non-verbal expression – The Orient and Greek myth – ‘Mythological opera’ as expression and performance.