Performance and Identity in the Classical World

Performance and Identity in the Classical World


By (author) Anne Duncan

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  • Format: Hardback | 250 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 234mm x 23mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 28 February 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 052185282X
  • ISBN 13: 9780521852821
  • Edition statement: New.

Product description

Performance and Identity in the Classical World traces attitudes towards actors in Greek and Roman culture as a means of understanding ancient conceptions of, and anxieties about, the self. Actors were often viewed as frauds and impostors, capable of deliberately fabricating their identities. Conversely, they were sometimes viewed as possessed by the characters that they played, or as merely playing themselves onstage. Numerous sources reveal an uneasy fascination with actors and acting, from the writings of elite intellectuals (philosophers, orators, biographers, historians) to the abundant theatrical anecdotes that can be read as a body of 'popular performance theory'. This 2005 text examines these sources, along with dramatic texts and addresses the issue of impersonation, from the late fifth century BCE to the early Roman Empire.

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Author information

Anne Duncan is assistant professor of Classics in the Department of Languages and Literatures at Arizona State University. She has published articles on Greek and Roman comedy, Greek tragedy, and English Renaissance drama.

Table of contents

Introduction: the hypocritical self; 1. Drag queens and in-betweens: Agathon and the mimetic body; 2. Demosthenes vs. Aeschines: the rhetoric of sincerity; 3. The fraud and the flatterer: images of actors in the comic state; 4. Infamous performers: comic actors and female prostitutes in Rome; 5. The actor's freedom: Roscius and the slave actor at Rome; 6. Extreme mimesis: the spectacle in the Empire.