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Choruses, Ancient and Modern$
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Joshua Billings, Felix Budelmann, and Fiona Macintosh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670574

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670574.001.0001

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Phantom Chorus: Missing Chorality on the French Eighteenth-Century Stage

Phantom Chorus: Missing Chorality on the French Eighteenth-Century Stage

(p.203) 12 Phantom Chorus: Missing Chorality on the French Eighteenth-Century Stage
Choruses, Ancient and Modern

Cécile Dudouyt

Oxford University Press

In ‘Phantom Choruses: Missing Chorality on the French Eighteenth-Century Stage’, Cécile Dudouyt explores neoclassical ambivalence towards Greek choruses in adaptations of Sophocles’ Electra and Oedipus Tyrannus. Eighteenth-century Electras illustrate the process of adaptation as amputation of the chorus, leaving dramatists with a beautiful but incomplete textual body to which prosthetic plot twists need to be added. Yet, this chapter argues that in such plays as Voltaire’s Oedipe chorality is not only missing but also missed, that it can be felt like a phantom limb, a haunting presence in eighteenth-century drama.

Keywords:   neoclassical tragedy, neoclassical theory, chorus, Voltaire, Sophocles’ Electra, Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus

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