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Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone$
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Tamara Levitz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730162.001.0001

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Melancholic Modernism

(p.3) Introduction
Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone

Tamara Levitz

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides background on the collaborators involved in Perséphone by recreating from archival sources their meeting at Ida Rubinstein’s house on 20 October 1933, about six months before the premiere. It provides a historical account of each collaborator’s negotiations with Rubinstein and involvement in the production, before then describing the theatrical context in which the performance took place. Both the collaborators themselves and danced productions in France in this period (after the death of Diaghilev and demise of his Ballets Russes) were plagued by melancholia. This backdrop serves as a point of departure for a theoretical discussion of the connections between neoclassicism, melancholia, Antigone, Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s eighteenth-century classicist aesthetics, and Walter Benjamin’s notion of Baroque allegory, which grounds the arguments presented in this book.

Keywords:   Persephone, melancholia, Walter Benjamin, allegory, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, aesthetics, neoclassicism, musicology methodology, Stravinsky, Antigone

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