Performing Homer: The Voyage of Ulysses from Epic to Opera: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Performing Homer: The Voyage of Ulysses from Epic to Opera

1st Edition

Edited by Wendy Heller, Eleonora Stoppino


240 pages | 23 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781409445630
pub: 2019-06-28
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The epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, attributed to Homer, are among the oldest surviving works of literature derived from oral performance. Deeply embedded in these works is the notion that they were intended to be heard: there is something musical about Homer's use of language and a vivid quality to his images that transcends the written page to create a theatrical experience for the listener. Indeed, it is precisely the theatrical quality of the poems that would inspire later interpreters to cast the Odyssey and the Iliad in a host of other media-novels, plays, poems, paintings, and even that most elaborate of all art forms, opera, exemplified by no less a work than Monteverdi's Il ritorno di Ulisse. In Performing Homer: The Voyage of Ulysses from Epic to Opera,scholars in Classics, Drama, Italian Literature, Art History, and Musicology explore the journey of Homer's Odyssey from ancient to modern times. The book traces the reception of The Odyssey though the Italian humanist sources -- from Dante, Petrarch, and Ariosto -- to the treatment of the tale not only by Monteverdi but also such composers as Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Gluck, and Alessandro Scarlatti, and the dramatic and poetic traditions thereafter, by such modern writers as Derek Walcott and Margaret Atwood.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Epic Theatricalities 1. Soundings of the lyre: Performing Homer in archaic Greece Deborah Steiner 2. "Like an expert singer skilled at lyre and song": Reading the Odyssey as Opera George A. Harne 3. Ariosto’s Ulysses: Medieval Homer and the Querelle de Femmes - Eleonora Stoppino Part 2 Staging a Baroque Homer 4. La castità rinforzata: from Homer to Monteverdi Ellen Rosand 5. Drama, not Epic: Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and the Aesthetic Discourse in Subsequent Librettos Hendrik Schulze 6. Singing Love and Dancing War: The Ballo in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria - Michaela Baranello 7. Reimagining Ulysses: Spectacular Stage Effects in Contemporary Productions of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria - Andrew Eggert Part 3 Traditions and Afterlife 8. The Illiad and the Odyssey in the Epic Maggio of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines Jo Ann Cavallo 9. The Failure of Scarlatti’s Telemaco - Robert C. Ketterer 10. Intertextual Travel: Cantata as a Mode of Homeric Reception in Early 18th-Century France Michele Cabrini 11. Late Victorian Musical Odysseys. Scholarship, and Translation: The Curious Case of Samuel Butler Edith Hall Epilogue 12. Ulysses’s Fantastic Voyage, from Dante to Wolcott Pietro Frassica

About the Editors

Wendy Heller is the Scheide Professor of Music History and Chair of the Department of Music. She specializes in the the study of 17th- and 18th-century opera from interdisciplinary perspectives, with emphasis on gender and sexuality, art history, and the classical tradition.

Eleonora Stoppino is Associate Professor of Italian, Medieval Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois, where she directs the Program in Medieval Studies. She has published articles on Dante, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Tasso, the Italian epic tradition, and medieval conduct literature.

About the Series

Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera

Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera
The Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera series provides a centralized and prominent forum for the presentation of cutting-edge scholarship that draws on numerous disciplinary approaches to a wide range of subjects associated with the creation, performance, and reception of opera (and related genres) in various historical and social contexts. There is great need for a broader approach to scholarship about opera. In recent years, the course of study has developed significantly, going beyond traditional musicological approaches to reflect new perspectives from literary criticism and comparative literature, cultural history, philosophy, art history, theatre history, gender studies, film studies, political science, philology, psycho-analysis, and medicine. The new brands of scholarship have allowed a more comprehensive interrogation of the complex nexus of means of artistic expression operative in opera, one that has meaningfully challenged prevalent historicist and formalist musical approaches. The Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera series continues to move this important trend forward by including essay collections and monographs that reflect the ever-increasing interest in opera in non-musical contexts. Books in the series are linked by their emphasis on the study of a single genre - opera - yet are distinguished by their individualized and novel approaches by scholars from various disciplines/fields of inquiry. The remit of the series welcomes studies of seventeenth century to contemporary opera from all geographical locations, including non-Western topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Opera