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Faint Sounds of Shovelling

John Kerrigan: The History of Tragedy

20 December 2018
Ladies’ Greek: Victorian Translations of Tragedy 
by Yopie Prins.
Princeton, 297 pp., £24, April 2017, 978 0 691 14189 3
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Greek Tragic Women on Shakespearean Stages 
by Tanya Pollard.
Oxford, 331 pp., £60, September 2017, 978 0 19 879311 3
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Eclipse of Action: Tragedy and Political Economy 
by Richard Halpern.
Chicago, 313 pp., £34, April 2017, 978 0 226 43365 3
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Samson Agonistes: A Redramatisation after Milton 
by John Kinsella.
Arc, 109 pp., £10.99, October 2018, 978 1 911469 55 1
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... set in a stoic version of ancient Sparta. Pollard helps expose the deficiencies of the prevailing view of the period, which takes the idea of an English Renaissance to be elitist and aestheticist. RichardHalpern​ knows that European tragedy has often followed the Greeks. His Eclipse of Action starts with an account of the Oresteia and ends with Sarah Kane’s Blasted, a viscerally shocking play ...

Play for Today

Adam Smyth: Rewriting ‘Pericles’

24 October 2019
Spring 
by Ali Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 336 pp., £16.99, March, 978 0 241 20704 8
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The Porpoise 
by Mark Haddon.
Chatto, 309 pp., £18.99, May, 978 1 78474 282 9
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... than twenty years. The play is a series of episodes as much as a unified drama, spread over 14 years, a tale of flight, family separation and reunion scattered across the waters and cities of what RichardHalpern called ‘the decaying Hellenistic world’. At its core is the romance arc of a prince, Pericles (whose motto, In hac spe vivo, means ‘In this hope I live’), losing and then finding his ...

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