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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Between the death of President Washington and the Civil War, dramas set in ancient Greece or based on Greek models allowed Philadelphia audiences to simultaneously affirm and subvert their ideas about gender, race, and society. Greek drama on the Philadelphia stage before the 1880s was represented by adaptations, and often adaptations of adaptations, that are far from anything that a twenty-first-century audience would accept as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, or Aristophanes. The reception of Ernst Legouvé’s Médée as both tragic drama and minstrel burlesque and responses to the real-life tragedy of Margaret Garner provide striking examples of receptions divided along the lines of race and class.

Keywords: Philadelphia, Medea, Ernst Legouvé, Adelaide Ristori, Francesca Janauschek, Thomas Talfourd, Margaret Garner, blackface, James Robinson Planché

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