Helen Foley: “Classical Muses: How Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-century Women Re-imagined Greek Tragedy for the U.S. Stage” – October 8, 2008

Serious Western theater has provided a frustratingly limited range of stellar roles for women. By contrast, Greek tragedy has offered many such parts: Medera, Clytemnestra, Phaedra, Electra, Cassandra, or Hecuba to name a few. Although sixties and seventies feminists raised doubts about the images of women represented in these male-authored plays, they have proved enduringly attractive to actresses and female playwrights and directors up to the present moment. This lecture will demonstrate the critical role that women played in putting Greek tragedy on the U.S. professional stage in the nineteenth and early twentieth-century as authors of new versions, directors, and actresses. The lecture will contribute to an enduring project in women’s studies to uncover the compelling stories of important, over-looked women that continue to raise questions about controversial contemporary issues.

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