The hidden chorus: echoes of genre in tragic lyric

Swift, L. A. (2010). The hidden chorus: echoes of genre in tragic lyric. Oxford Classical Monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



The Hidden Chorus investigates the relationship between the chorus of Greek tragedy and other types of choral song in Greek society. Choruses performed on a range of occasions in Greek culture, ranging from private weddings and funerals to large-scale religious festivals, yet the relationship between these everyday or 'ritual' choruses and the choruses of tragedy has never been systematically examined. L. A. Swift discusses choruses from five ritual genres: paian (religious songs of celebration or healing), epinikion (songs for athletic victors), partheneia (songs for the transitions of young girls), hymenaios (wedding song), and threnos (funerary song), and explores how these choral forms are evoked in tragedy. By examining the relationship between tragic and non-tragic choral song, she not only provides new insights into individual plays, but also enriches our understanding of the role poetry and song played in Greek life.

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