European History

Medea, Magic, and Modernity in France: Stages and Histories, by Amy Wygant

By Amy Wygant

Bringing jointly the formerly disparate fields of old witchcraft, reception background, poetics, and psychoanalysis, this cutting edge examine exhibits how the glamour of the old witch, a spell that she forged, was once set on a direction, over a span of 3 hundred years from the 16th to the eighteenth centuries, to develop into a usually broadcast glamour of visual appeal. anything girl does, that's, grew to become whatever that she has.

The old heroine Medea, witch and barbarian, notorious poisoner, infanticide, regicide, scourge of philanderers, and indefatigable tourist, serves because the automobile of this improvement. Revived at the degree of modernity by means of los angeles Péruse within the 16th century, Corneille within the 17th, and the operatic composer Cherubini within the eighteenth, her stagecraft and her witchcraft mix, writer Amy Wygant argues, to stun her viewers into selecting along with her magic and making it their very own. not like prior reviews that have relied upon modern published resources with a purpose to gauge viewers participation in and response to early smooth theater, Wygant argues that psychoanalytic thought of the habit of teams could be dropped at endure at the query of "what occurred" while the early smooth witch used to be staged.

This cross-disciplinary examine finds the stunning early smooth trajectory of our modern obsession with magic. Medea figures the circulation of tradition in historical past, and within the reflect of the witch at the degree, a replicate either attractive and appalling, our personal cultural performances are mirrored. It concludes with an research of Diderot's declare that the old method itself is magical, and with the instant in innovative France while the mild and fragile physique of the golden-throated singer, Julie-Angélique Scio, turned a Medea for modernity: now not a witch or a child-murderess, yet, as all of the press reports insist, a woman.

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