Silent Eloquence: Lucian and Pantomime Dancing (Classical Literature and Society)

November 29, 2020
Silent Eloquence: Lucian and Pantomime Dancing (Classical Literature and Society)

One of the greatest aesthetic attractions in the ancient worldwas pantomime dancing, a ballet-style entertainment in which asilent, solo dancer incarnated a series of mythological charactersto the accompaniment of music and sung narrative. Looking at amultitude of texts and particularly Lucian's "On the Dance", adialogue written at the height of pantomime's popularity, thisinnovative cultural study of the genre offers a radicalreassessment of its importance in the symbolic economy of imperialand later antiquity. Rather than being trivial or lowbrow,pantomime was thoroughly enmeshed in wider social discourses onmorality and sexuality, gender and desire and a key player in thefierce battles about education and culture that raged in theancient world. A close reading of primary sources, judiciouslyinterlaced with a wealth of interdisciplinary perspectives, makesthis challenging book essential for anyone interested in theperformance culture of the Greek and Roman world.