September 30, 2008


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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Helene Foley, professor of classics at Barnard College, will give the talk, "Classical Muses: How 19th and early 20th century Women Reimagined Greek Tragedy for the U.S. Stage," on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free to the public, is part of the ongoing Women's and Gender Studies Distinguished Lecture series at Bucknell.

Greek tragedy roles for women
According to Foley, serious Western theater has provided a frustratingly limited range of stellar roles for women. By contrast, Greek tragedy has offered many such parts: Medea, Clytemnestra, Phaedra, Antigone, Electra, Cassandra, or Hecuba to name a few.

"Although '60s and '70s feminists raised doubts about the images of women represented in these male-authored plays, they have proved enduringly attractive to actresses and female playwrights and directors up to the present moment," she said.

"This lecture will demonstrate the critical role that women played in putting Greek tragedy on the U.S. professional stage in the 19th and early 20th century as authors of new versions, directors, and actresses.

"The lecture will contribute to an enduring project in women's studies: to uncover the compelling stories of important, over-looked women that continue to raise questions about controversial contemporary issues," she said.

Women in antiquity
The author of Female Acts in Greek Tragedy, Foley is co-editor of and contributor to Visualizing the Tragic: Drama, Myth, and Ritual in Greek Art and Literature.

She served as president of the American Philological Association in 1998, and has received numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and a Loeb Library Classical Foundation Grant.

While on leave from Barnard this semester, she is serving as Visiting Sather Professor of Classical Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and focusing on the ultimately successful struggle of Greek tragedy to find a place on the American stage.

Contact: Division of Communications

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