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Language and Character in Euripides' Electra (Evert van Emde Boas) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2017) 9780198793601
Language and Character in Euripides' Electra (Evert van Emde Boas) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2017) 9780198793601
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Title: Language and Character in Euripides' Electra

Author: Boas, Evert van Emde

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 2017

Hardcover; ISBN: 9780198793601

Volumes: 1; Pages: 384

List Price in Hardcover: $120.00 Our price: $95.99

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This study of Euripides' Electra approaches the text through the lens of modern linguistics, marrying it with traditional literary criticism in order to provide new and informative means of analyzing and interpreting what is considered to be one of the playwright's most controversial works. It is the first systematic attempt to apply a variety of modern linguistic theories, including conversation analysis, pragmatics, sociolinguistics (on gender and politeness), paroemiology, and discourse studies, to a single Greek tragedy.

The volume focuses specifically on issues of characterization, demonstrating how Euripides shaped his figures through their use of language, while also using the same methodology to tackle some of the play's major textual issues. An introductory chapter treats each of the linguistic approaches used throughout the book, and discusses some of the general issues surrounding the play's interpretation. This is followed by chapters on the figures of the Peasant, Electra herself, and Orestes, in each case showing how their characterization is determined by their speaking style and their "linguistic behavior." Three further chapters focus on textual criticism in stichomythia, on the messenger speech, and on the agon.

By using modern linguistic methodologies to argue for a balanced interpretation of the Electra's main characters, the volume both challenges dominant scholarly opinion and enhances the literary interpretation of this well-studied play. Taking full account of recent and older work in both linguistics and classics, it will be of use to readers and researchers in both fields, and includes translations of all Greek cited and a glossary of linguistic terminology to make the text accessible to both.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

List of Figures

A Note on Citation, Abbreviations, and Cross-referencing

0. Introduction: Modern Linguistics and Euripides' Electra

1. Aims, approaches, outline

1.1. Reading, linguistically

1.2. Outline of the book

2. Linguistic approaches

2.1. Introduction: Bauformen and text types

2.2. Conversation Analysis

2.3. Pragmatics

2.3.1 Speech acts

2.3.2 (Neo-)Gricean theories of meaning

2.4. Sociolinguistics

2.4.1 Gender

2.4.2 Politeness and power

2.5. Gnomic utterances in context: some aspects of modern paremiology

2.6. Narrative and argumentative texts: discourse cohesion

3. Textual criticism

4. A view of the play

4.1. Characters and characterization

4.1.1 Conceptualization; characterization through style

4.1.2 Electra and Orestes

4.2. Themes and motifs

4.3. Tradition (and the recognition scene)

4.4. The roads not taken . . .

I. Rustic Language: The Peasant

1. Introduction

2. A peasant's tale (1 53)

3. Husband and wife (54 81, 341 63, 404 31)

3.1. A marriage under face-threat

3.2. Getting water (54 81)

3.3. Welcoming guests (341 63)

3.4. Preparing food (404 31)

4. Further stylistic points; conclusion

II. Constancy Amid Change: The Linguistic Characterization of Electra

1. Introduction

2. Resistance through lament: the early scenes (54 81, 112 214)

2.1. Electra as mourner

2.2. Electra as wife

2.3. Electra as Argive 'maiden'

2.4. The characterization of Electra

2.4.1 Patterns of miscommunication

2.4.2 Electra's character: the debate

3. Electra and her unexpected guest (215 338)

3.1. The stichomythia (215 89)

3.2. The 'message' (300 38)

4. Recognition and planning (487 698)

5. Electra, Aegisthus, and Clytemnestra

5.1. A play of halves?

5.2. The 'kakology' (907 56)

5.2.1 Electra's 'undramatic' generalizations

5.2.2 Analysis of the speech

5.3. 'Into the boudoir': Electra and Clytemnestra (998 1146)

5.3.1 Opening exchanges (998 1010)

5.3.2 Clytemnestra's speech (1011 50)

5.3.3 Parrhesia (1055 9)

5.3.4 Electra's speech (1060 99)

5.3.5 Mother and daughter (1102 46)

6. Exodos

6.1. The kommos (1177 1232)

6.2. The deus ex machina (1233 1358)

III. Orestes' Linguistic (Dis)guises

1. Introduction

2. Orestes incognito

2.1. Initial observations

2.2. The general reflections

2.2.1 'A man in exile is powerless' (236)

2.2.2 Pity and intelligence (290 6)

2.2.3 Evaluating character (367 400)

2.3. The second disguise (774 858)

3. Conclusion

IV. Redrawing the Lines: Pragmatics and Gender in Textual Criticism

1. Introduction

1.1. Vexed passages

1.2. L and P

2. Divided (?) we pray (671 84)

3. The hesitation scene (959 87)

3.1. On giving orders and having fashion sense (959 66)

3.2. Diverging minds (967 87)

4. Conclusion

V. A Tense Affair: The Messenger Speech

1. Introduction

2. Not 'what?' but 'how?'

3. Analysis of the narrative

3.1. Setting the scene (774 8)

3.2. 'A deliciously protracted game of cat and mouse' (779 97)

3.3. A moment for prayer (798 810)

3.4. The sacrifice of Aegisthus (810 43)

3.5. Aftermath and resolution (844 55, 855 7, 857 8)

3.6. Evaluation

4. Conclusion

VI. The Language of Rhetoric: The Agon Revisited

1. Introduction

2. Exordium

2.1. Clytemnestra

2.2. Electra

3. Narratio

3.1. Clytemnestra

3.2. Electra

4. Argumentatio

4.1. Generalizations

4.2. Clytemnestra's hypotheticals

4.3. Rhetoric and characterization

5. Peroratio

5.1. Clytemnestra

5.2. Electra

6. Peroratio (II)

VII. Conclusion: Approaching Tragic Language

Endmatter

Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Bibliography

Indexes

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