Cover: Ritual and Performativity: The Chorus in Old Comedy, from Harvard University PressCover: Ritual and Performativity in PAPERBACK

Hellenic Studies Series 20

Ritual and Performativity

The Chorus in Old Comedy

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$37.95 • £29.95 • €34.20

ISBN 9780674023734

Publication: February 2010


5-1/2 x 9 inches

Center for Hellenic Studies > Hellenic Studies Series

World, subsidiary rights restricted

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In this groundbreaking study, Anton Bierl uses recent approaches in literary and cultural studies to investigate the chorus of Old Comedy. After an extensive theoretical introduction that also serves as a general introduction to the dramatic chorus from the comic vantage point, a close reading of Aristophanes’s Thesmophoriazusae shows that ritual is indeed present in both the micro- and macrostructure of Attic comedy, not as a fossilized remnant of the origins of the genre but as part of a still existing performative choral culture. The chorus members do play a role within the dramatic plot, but they simultaneously refer to their own performance in the here and now and to their function as participants in a ritual. Bierl’s investigation also includes an unparalleled treatment of the phallic songs preserved by Semos.