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The Politics of AppropriationGerman Romantic Music and the Ancient Greek Legacy$
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Jason Geary

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736119.001.0001

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The Reception of Antigone and the Aesthetics of Appropriation

The Reception of Antigone and the Aesthetics of Appropriation

(p.79) Chapter Three The Reception of Antigone and the Aesthetics of Appropriation
The Politics of Appropriation

Jason Geary

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the immediate reception of the 1841 Antigone, which attracted widespread attention and inspired a spate of similar productions throughout Germany and abroad. It also explores the many aesthetic debates that arose in the wake of this production, including that concerning the relative merits of reviving Greek tragedy for the modern stage and the suitability of Mendelssohn’s music for this task. At issue is whether Mendelssohn’s score served a kind of mediating role between ancient and modern or whether, as some commentators of the day suggested, it simply detracted from the classical beauty of Sophocles’ tragedy. The chapter concludes with additional musical analysis of Mendelssohn’s Antigone in light of the various aesthetic issues raised by the preceding discussion.

Keywords:   Aesthetics, Imitation, Graecomania, August Böckh, Gottfried Hermann, Heinrich Laube, Johann Gustav Droysen

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