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Ladies' GreekVictorian Translations of Tragedy$
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Yopie Prins

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691141893

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691141893.001.0001

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The Education of Electra

The Education of Electra

(p.116) Chapter Three The Education of Electra
Ladies' Greek

Yopie Prins

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the spectacle of female classical literacy by focusing on two historic productions of Sophocles's tragedy Electra, staged in ancient Greek by the first generation of women students at Girton College in 1883 and at Smith College in 1889. It analyzes these women's performance of ancient Greek in relation to nineteenth-century debates about the higher education of women, and how they drew on a tradition of classical posing, to “transpose” the text into the visual and auditory languages associated with Delsartean performance practices. Their dramatic presentation depended on these alternative modes of translation as well as the subsequent re-presentation of the spectacle in various written accounts. The chapter considers how the cast of Electra was trained for a highly stylized performance, embodying the Sophoclean text in and for a collective student body that sought to commemorate itself through the ritual of mourning.

Keywords:   female classical literacy, tragedy, Electra, Greek, Girton College, Smith College, performance, higher education, women, translation

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