Abstract

Relatively unknown until recently, the work of the eighteenth-century Cephalonian dramatist Petros Katsaitis, particularly his tragedy Iphigeneia, represents a point of intersection for various influences, such as those of Cretan drama, Italian humanist tragedy, and improvisational theater, which then become assimilated, transformed, and re-directed. A study of Katsaitis's work with reference to the historical, cultural, educational, religious, and literary contexts of his period, as well as to specific theatrical models, reveals the originality of the dramatist, his strong regional identity, as well as his remarkable consciousness of a broader Greek identity. Katsaitis's handling of the mythological and historical material of his play is at the same time consistent with and divergent from contemporary trends in Western Europe, as well as suggestive of future approaches to myth in Modern Greek literature.

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