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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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‘An Alien Body’? Choral Autonomy around 1800

‘An Alien Body’? Choral Autonomy around 1800

Chapter:
(p.133) 8 ‘An Alien Body’? Choral Autonomy around 1800
Source:
Choruses, Ancient and Modern
Author(s):

Joshua Billings

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670574.003.0009

In ‘“An Alien Body”? Choral Autonomy around 1800’, Joshua Billings traces major developments in thought on the chorus of Greek tragedy from the late seventeenth century through German Idealism. Over the course of the eighteenth century, the Aristotelian prescription that the chorus should ‘join in the action’ is replaced by a sense of the uniqueness of the chorus and a fascination with its dramatic potential. The major figures in this shift are the Schlegel brothers and Friedrich Schiller, whose theories of the chorus demonstrate an engagement with Kantian philosophy in their notions of choral autonomy. The chorus for both has an idealizing function, raising the dramatic representation above particular circumstances and emotions. The ‘choral craze’ in Weimar around 1800 has been definitive for modern understandings of the chorus as a body between particular and universal, individual and collective, antiquity and modernity.

Keywords:   Friedrich Schiller, A.W. Schlegel, Friedrich Schlegel, Aristotle, chorus, Greek tragedy, German Idealism

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