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The Art of Euripides: Dramatic Technique and Social Context by Donald J. Mastronarde (review)
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Reviewed by
Donald J. Mastronarde, The Art of Euripides: Dramatic Technique and Social Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 376 pp.

Aristophanes’s Euripides in The Frogs is a slippery figure: a realist, a friend of the common man and woman, a corrupter of morals, and a master of rhetoric. He may lose in the contest for the underworld poetry prize against the grandiose, unyielding figure of Aeschylus, but one could say that Euripides won in the long run, through his powerful influence on poets of later centuries. In this comprehensive book on Euripidean drama, Mastronarde takes on the Euripides stereotype and turns it inside out by adapting it as a model for critical practice. Steeped in centuries of critical debate about Euripides, Mastronarde deftly steers his way through the controversies over the aesthetic, political, and religious values of the plays with an approach he calls “eclectic, flexible and wary of totalizing interpretations”: a Euripidean critic, indeed. [End Page 566]

Rebecca Bushnell

Rebecca Bushnell is Gates Professor of English and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include Prophesying Tragedy: Sign and Voice in Sophocles’ Theban Plays; Tragedies of Tyrants: Political Thought and Theater in the English Renaissance; A Culture of Teaching: Early Modern Humanism in Theory and Practice; and Green Desire: Imagining Early Modern English Gardens.