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Laura Monrós Gaspar





febbraio 2011, pp. 330, € 35,00


In the early  nineteenth century connections were made between the aesthetic and non-aesthetic codes in relation to women, prophets, gipsies and fortune-tellers, which profoundly shaped the reception of the Cassandra myth troughout the Victorian period. Connections between Cassandra and these social icons went beyond the page and illustrations in magazines, paintings and popular entertainments depicted Cassandra-like gipsies, witches and seers. The interaction between the intellectual frame and the cultural texts which depicted Cassandra in Victorian England was revealed by the parallelisms between translations of Aeschylus' Agamemnon, for example, and pictorial representations of the myth which made a link between Cassandra, evil and witchcraft.

The refiguration of Greek tragedy in classical burlesque introduced a group of heroines who questioned authoritarian values under the guise of humor. Medea, Alcestis and Antigone, for example, anticipated subsequent depictions of New Women; and the subversive Cassandra is refigured in the essays of Florence Nightingale and Margaret Fuller as well as in burlesque.

Robert Reece's burlesque Agamemnon and Cassandra; or, the Prophet and Loss of Troy was first staged in Liverpool in 1868. The juxtaposition of Cassandra's frenzy with witches, false prophets and madwomen coexists for the first time in Robert Reece with the wise and heeded Cassandra vindicated by Nightingale and Fuller. An intertextual analysis of Robert Reece's Agamemnon and Cassandra shows that nurtured by the arts, culture and daily lives of the Victorians, burlesque echoed the full spectrum of Victorian political, prophetic and feminist Cassandra. The ambivalence of the genre favoured the coexistence of opposing refigurations of the myth and staged both a scorned and strong-minded heroine. As demonstrated in this volume, the syncretism between highbrow and popular refigurations of the Cassandra myth allow us to recreate the sociocultural mindset which suffused the Victorian contribution to the reception history of the Trojan princess. The book cocnludes with an annotated edition of Robert Reece's burlesque Agamemnon and Cassandra; or, the Prophet and Loss of Troy (1868).


Contents: ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS – PREFACE – INTRO-DUCTION Cassandra from Homer to the 1600s – CHAPTER 1 Cassandra and the Classics in Translation (1820-1868) 1.1 Knowledge, Witchcraft and Fortune-telling: Aeschylus' Agamemnon; 1.2 Images of the Voice: Cassandra in Homer's Iliad; 1.3 Other Sources CHAPTER 2 Nineteenth-century Cassandra 2.1 Gestures, Movements and Attitudes; 2.2 Prophets, Gipsies and Fortune-tellers CHAPTER 3 Comic Cas-sandra 3.1 Eigthteenth-century Comic Street Theatre 3.2 Cassandra and the Equestrian Burlesque (1819-1854) CHAPTER 4 Cassandra, Robert Reece and the heyday of burlesque 4.1 Robert Reece and Burlesque 4.2 Agamemnon and Cassandra or the Prophet and Loss of Troy (1868) 4.2.1 The Liverpool Scene 4.2.2 Textual Sources: An "Intertextual Extravaganza" 4.2.3 Cassandra: a Witch,a Fortune-teller and a New Woman –APPENDIX I Illustrations – APPENDIX II List of Modern Cassandras – APPENDIX III Agamemnon and Cassandra; or, the Prophet and Loss of Troy  – REFERENCES – INDEX


In copertina: Anthony Frederick Sandys, Cassandra (ca 1895), private collection


ISBN 978-88-7949-575-2