The Reception and Performance of Euripides Herakles: Reasoning Madness

Hardcover | April 24, 2008

byKathleen Riley

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Euripides' Herakles, which tells the story of the hero's sudden descent into filicidal madness, is one of the least familiar and least performed plays in the Greek tragic canon. Kathleen Riley explores its reception and performance history from the fifth century BC to AD 2006. Her focus isupon changing ideas of Heraklean madness, its causes, its consequences, and its therapy. Writers subsequent to Euripides have tried to 'reason' or make sense of the madness, often in accordance with contemporary thinking on mental illness. She concurrently explores how these attempts have, in theprocess, necessarily entailed redefining Herakles' heroism.Riley demonstrates that, in spite of its relatively infrequent staging, the Herakles has always surfaced in historically charged circumstances - Nero's Rome, Shakespeare's England, Freud's Vienna, Cold-War and post-9/11 America - and has had an undeniable impact on the history of ideas. As ananalysis of heroism in crisis, a tragedy about the greatest of heroes facing an abyss of despair but ultimately finding redemption through human love and friendship, the play resonates powerfully with individuals and communities at historical and ethical crossroads.

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Euripides' Herakles, which tells the story of the hero's sudden descent into filicidal madness, is one of the least familiar and least performed plays in the Greek tragic canon. Kathleen Riley explores its reception and performance history from the fifth century BC to AD 2006. Her focus isupon changing ideas of Heraklean madness, its c...

Kathleen Riley is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.09 inPublished:April 24, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199534489

ISBN - 13:9780199534487

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Table of Contents

Introduction: reasoning madness and redefining the hero1. 'No longer himself': the tragic fall of Euripides' Herakles2. `Let the monster be mine': Seneca and the internalization of imperial furor3. A peculiar compound: Hercules as Renaissance man4. 'Even the earth is not room enough': Herculean selfhood on the Elizabethan stage5. Sophist, sceptic, sentimentalist: the nineteenth-century damnatio of Euripides6. The Browning version: Aristophanes' Apology and 'the perfect piece'7. The psychological hero: Herakles' lost self and the creation of Nervenkunst8. Herakles' apotheosis: the tragedy of Superman9. The Herakles complex: a Senecan diagnosis of the 'Family Annihilator'10. Creating a Herakles for our times: a montage of modern madness