Hercules Performed

The Hero on Stage from the Enlightenment to the Early Twenty-First Century


Volume Editor:
Hercules Performed explores the reception of the ancient Greek hero Herakles – the Roman Hercules – on the western stage from the sixteenth century to the present day, focusing on live theatre, including tragedy, comedy and musical drama. Each chapter considers a particular work or theme in detail, exploring the interplay between classical models and a wide variety of modern performance contexts. The volume is one of four to be published in the Metaforms series examining the extraordinarily persistent figuring of Herakles-Hercules in western culture, drawing together scholars from a range of disciplines to offer a unique insight into the hero’s perennial appeal.

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Emma Stafford is Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Leeds and author of numerous works on Greek myth and religion, including Herakles (Routledge 2012). She is co-editor of three other Hercules volumes in Brill's Metaforms series (2020).
Contributors are: Tim Benjamin, Neil W. Bernstein, Deborah Chatr Aryamontri, Lucia Degiovanni, Sofia Frade, Samuel D. Gartland, Sue Hamstead Owen Hodkinson, Eleftheria Ioannidou, Adriana F. Nogueira, Eleanor OKell, Robyn M. Rocklein, George Rodosthenous, Henry Stead.
List of Figures and Table
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Embodying the Hero and His Story
Emma Stafford

Part 1: Labours

1 Sandow the Modern Hercules: or the Twelve Labours of the Class-Conscious Historian of British Classics
Henry Stead

2 Hercules and the Tragicomic in the Epic Theatre of Dürrenmatt
Deborah Chatr Aryamontri

3 ‘Breaking News: Hercules Is the Son of Zeus’: the Chorus in Helen Eastman’s Hercules
Sofia Frade

4 ‘The Moral Madness of the Modern Herakles’: Collage and Fragments in Tony Harrison’s The Labourers of Herakles and the Harrison Archive
Owen Hodkinson

Part 2: Madness

5 The Madness of Hercules from Euripides to the Renaissance
Neil W. Bernstein

6 Herakles, Medea and the Reality of Filicide
Sue Hamstead

7 Herakles in Orbit: the Role of Space in Modern Versions of Euripides’ Herakles
Samuel D. Gartland

Part 3: Death and Apotheosis

8 The Death and Apotheosis of Hercules at the Comédie-Italienne: from Senecan Tragedy to Commedia dell’Arte
Lucia Degiovanni

9 The Sweet Vitality of Dancing Bodies: Classical Embodiment, Modernist Poetics, and Fascist Visions in Sophocles’ Trachiniae at Syracuse in 1933
Eleftheria Ioannidou

10 Herakles, Sex, Death, and Spin: Sophocles’ Women of Trachis and Its Adaptations
Eleanor OKell

11 Directing The Wife of Heracles (2010) for a Contemporary Audience: Footballers, Hairdressers and Dispensing the Poison
George Rodosthenous

Part 4: Setting Hercules to Music

12 Hercules and Opera at the Court of Louis XIV: Ercole amante
Jon Solomon

13 Shattered Female Virtue: Dejanira as Depicted in Handel’s Hercules
Robyn M. Rocklein

14 ‘I Shall Sing of Herakles’: Writing a Hercules Oratorio for the Twenty-First Century
Emma Stafford and Tim Benjamin

15 Herakles in Twenty-First Century Music
Adriana F. Nogueira

Emma Stafford

Academic libraries, students and researchers. Anyone interested in Herakles/Hercules, or classical heroes and myth more broadly, and their representation on the stage, in any genre of drama or music.
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