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The Senecan AestheticA Performance History$
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Helen Slaney

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198736769.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Senecan Aesthetic

Helen Slaney

Oxford University Press

The adjective ‘Senecan’ (upper-case) refers to Seneca’s extant plays themselves. The adjective ‘senecan’ (lower-case) refers to a number of identifiable features, tropes, or modes of expression characteristic of this type of drama. These are defined here as rhetoric, excess, metatheatre, delirium, possession, abjection, horror, confinement, and sympatheia (responsiveness between protagonists and their surrounding environment). Their verbal traces within the text are analysed here as the residue of performative realizations. Most studies of classical performance reception up to this point have concentrated on Greek tragedy, but it is the contention of this book that Seneca has also made an indispensable contribution to the development of European tragedy.

Keywords:   rhetoric, excess, metatheatre, delirium, possession, abjection, horror, confinement, sympatheia

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