In his play Bacchae, Euripides chooses as his central figure the god who crosses the boundaries among god, man, and beast, between reality and imagination, and between art and madness. In so doing, he explores what in tragedy is able to reach beyond the social, ritual, and historical context from which tragedy itself rises. Charles Segal's reading of Euripides' Bacchae builds gradually from concrete details of cult, setting, and imagery to the work's implications for the nature of myth, language, and theater. This volume presents the argument that the Dionysiac poetics of the play characterize a world view and an art form that can admit logical contradictions and hold them in suspension.
"Here the fruits of intensive and sustained scholarship are combined with a sophisticated awareness of current critical theory to offer a powerful reading of one of the greatest plays of the tradition. . . . Segal offers an exemplary instance of the fusion of traditional scholarship and current critical practice."--Cyrus Hamlin, Recherches Sémiotiques/Semiotic Inquiry
"Well-written and well-documented, based on extensive reading and intensive study, [the book] reveals the Bacchae as a much more beautiful, more interesting, and more important play than has thus far been realized."--W. J. Verdenius, Mnemosyne
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