Preface
Greek tragedy gives us a sense of a remote world and across a vast
gap oftime reminds us ofwhat we may share with men and women
in very different historical and cultural circumstances. To audiences
and interpreters in our century, Euripides has seemed both contem-
porary and remote; this volume attempts to explore some aspects of
his fascinating combination ofthe archaic and the modern. The view
of Euripides as an extreme radical that descends ultimately from
Aristophanes'
Frogs
is an exaggeration; but it is true that he con-
tinually and self-consciously exploits the tensions between tradition
and innovation, between the communal voice and the voice of criti-
cism and iconoclasm.
This book has many continuities with my previous writing on
Greek tragedy, particularly my concern with Euripides' self-
consciousness about his art and about language, signification, writ-
ing, and poetics in general. It places more emphasis, however, on the
ways these issues are connected with the representation ofthe differ-
ence between male and female experience and with the ritualized
forms of mourning and commemoration, the female lament, and
male heroic monumentalization. Consequently I am especially con-
cerned with tragedy's affective dimension, the emotional response
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