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Invitation to World Literature

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The Bacchae (30:00)

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This video introduces one of the greatest of Greek tragedies, The Bacchae of Euripides, a story of Dionysus and his followers, and the effect they have on Thebes, and its young leader, Pentheus.

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Speakers in the video

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming
Actor
Mr. Cumming is a Scottish writer, director, producer, and actor. He has appeared in a wide range of roles, from classic stage productions of Hamlet to the sci-fi film X2: X-Men United. He portrayed Dionysus in productions of The Bacchae at Lincoln Center in New York and the National Theatre of Scotland.
David Damrosch
David Damrosch
Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Dr. Damrosch is professor of comparative literature at Harvard University and the author of several books, including What Is World Literature?.
Helene Foley
Helene Foley
Professor of Classics, Columbia University
Dr. Foley is an expert in the study of women in antiquity, the author of Female Acts in Greek Tragedy, and co-editor of and contributor to Visualizing the Tragic: Drama, Myth, and Ritual in Greek Art and Literature. Dr. Foley served as president of the American Philological Association in 1998.
Brad Mays
Brad Mays
Theatre and Film Director
Mr. Mays is a stage and film director, as well as a screenwriter and producer. He has staged numerous award-winning theatrical productions, including Joan by Linda Chambers and Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss. He has brought The Bacchae to stage and film.
Daniel Mendelsohn
Daniel Mendelsohn
Writer, Critic, and Professor of Humanities, Bard College
Dr. Mendelsohn is the Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College, and an award-winning author and critic. He began his career in journalism and has written for numerous national publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Nation, Esquire, and The Paris Review.
Richard Schechner
Richard Schechner
Theater Director and Professor of Performance Studies, New York University
Dr. Schechner is a theater director and playwright, whose new interpretation of The Bacchae, Dionysus in 69, was influential in reviving modern performances of the play. He was one of the founders of the Performance Group, an experimental theater troupe that later became The Wooster Group.
Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka
Playwright
Mr. Soyinka is a Nigerian-born playwright and author who won the Nobel Prize in 1986. His plays, notably Death and the King's Horseman and King Baabu, often deal with the effects of colonialism and dictatorship. His version of The Bacchae is called The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite.
Froma Zeitlin
Froma Zeitlin
Professor of Classics, Princeton University
Dr. Zeitlin is Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature and Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. She is also involved in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender, and the director of the Program in Judaic Studies.