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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Greek Dramas in America: An Archival Interrogation” is a meditation on the timing of interest in Greek dramas in the U.S.A. that is informed by archival theory. The chapter argues that until the “culture wars” of the late twentieth century, Americans interested in Greek drama resisted the impulse to collect traces of them in American culture because they exposed the tension between an egalitarian ideal and the real distribution of power along lines of race and gender. Building on Derrida’s notion of the archive as the charge of those in power and as a symbol of the law, the chapter shows how Greek dramas inspired women and people of color to challenge the laws that limited their actions; it explores in depth the responses to Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century and the founding of “The Frogs,” an African-American social club in the early 1900s, to make the case.

Keywords: Aristophanes, Frogs, Archives, Margaret Fuller, Lester A. Walton, George W. Walker, Jacques Derrida, William S. Scarborough, Euripides, Sophocles

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