February 18th (Friday) at 1:20 p.m. on Zoom
Tea Talk by Prof. Al Duncan on work in progress: Rags of Defeat: Materializing Failure in Aristophanes’ Acharnians. In Aristophanes’ Acharnians, the comedic protagonist Dicaeopolis visits the fictionalized home of the real Athenian playwright, Euripides. Dicaeopolis, in need of a pathetic costume, finds Euripides not only dressed in rags himself but also surrounded by ragged costumes from past productions. Scholars have interpreted the superabundance of Euripides’ rags as commentary on the tragedian’s clichéd and pathetic plots, with some even speculating that the clothes were not rags at all, but papyrus scrolls from the playwright’s library. Countering such logocentric and symbolic readings of the scene, I explore how New Materialist approaches to Euripides’ costume archive (including Actor-Network Theory (ANT), most associated with Bruno Latour, as well as “vibrant matter,” as framed by Janet Bennett) reveal Euripides’ rags to be not merely passive indices of competitive failure, but dynamic objects supporting an aesthetics of defeat central to the comedy.
Meeting ID: 915 1151 9311