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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2021

Seneca’s Chorus of One

Seneca’s Chorus of One

(p.99) 6 Seneca’s Chorus of One
Choruses, Ancient and Modern

Helen Slaney

Oxford University Press

In ‘Seneca’s Chorus of One’, Helen Slaney discusses the mode of delivery of Seneca’s tragic choruses. Developing recent work about Seneca’s indebtedness to the pre-eminent Roman performance medium of pantomine, Slaney argues that pantomine provided the model also for his choruses. Seneca does away with the choral group that characterized Greek tragedy, and instead works with two soloists, the (anonymous) singer who performs the libretto and the (celebrity) dancer whose movement conveys its content through stylized physical response. The pantomimic mode of performance is reflected in the tendency of Seneca’s choruses not to define themselves as a group, and provides a radically different model of chorality, one that makes it necessary to confront the absence of an onstage collective, and the concentration of choral power into an individual.

Keywords:   Seneca, Stoicism, pantomime, performance, dance, Roman tragedy, individual and collective, chorus

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