Initiating Dionysus: Ritual and Theatre in Aristophanes' Frogs

Initiating Dionysus: Ritual and Theatre in Aristophanes' Frogs

Initiating Dionysus: Ritual and Theatre in Aristophanes' Frogs

Initiating Dionysus: Ritual and Theatre in Aristophanes' Frogs

Synopsis

This book offers a fresh and challenging multi-disciplinary interpretation of Aristophanes' Frogs. Drawing on a wide range of literary and anthropological approaches, it seeks to explore how membership in Greek fifth-century society would have shaped one's understanding of the play, and, more specifically, of Dionysus as a dramatic figure.

Excerpt

This book originated in my Ph. D. dissertation, written at Trinity College, Cambridge, between 1988 and 1992. It was thoroughly revised and greatly expanded during the last year of my Research Fellowship at St John's College, Cambridge and during a semester's leave very kindly awarded to me by the Classics Department of Nottingham University in the academic year 1996-7. As the final typescript was with the Press in March 1997 I have not been able to take into account: T. H. Carpenter, Dionysian Imagery in FifthCentury Athens (Oxford, 1997); P. E. Easterling (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge, 1997); A. Laks , andG. W. Most (eds.), Studies on the Derveni Papyrus (Oxford, 1997); C. Pelling (ed.), Greek Tragedy and the Historian (Oxford, 1997); and the 8th volume of LIMC, especially the article Mainades by I. Krauskopf,E. Simon, andB. Simon.

On the practical side, the project would never have got off the ground as a Ph.D. without the financial help generously granted by several institutions. The Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the British Academy, and the Jebb Fund in Cambridge all supported various stages of my work, while a Fellowship from St John's College provided me not only with the leisure (and the luxury!) in which to pursue research but also with a second home and family, the memory of which I shall forever treasure.

Academically, my greatest debt by far is to my Ph.D. supervisor, Dr R. L. Hunter, who guided my research with a patience and painstaking attention to detail far beyond the call of duty. Having read and reread innumerable successive drafts, from my clumsy English sentences of January 1989 to the book's final typescript, he has been the sharpest critic of my work, from subtle points of textual criticism to broader issues of culture and society, and from things Homeric to late Roman and beyond. Whenever I faltered by way of argument or otherwise he has always been there to reassure me, push me in new directions, and, above all, keep me going. I only hope this book will not make him feel his efforts have been entirely wasted. Dr M. Beard also supervised a term of my research, generously giving up her time and putting at my disposal the wealth of her knowledge of religion, iconography, and anthropology.

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