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Killing Hercules

Deianira and the Politics of Domestic Violence, from Sophocles to the War on Terror

Killing Hercules by Richard Rowland
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This book offers an entirely new reception history of the myth of Hercules and his wife/killer Deianira. The book poses, and attempts to answer, two important and related questions. First, why have artists across two millennia felt compelled to revisit this particular myth to express anxieties about violence at both a global and domestic level? Secondly, from the moment that Sophocles disrupted a myth about the definitive exemplar of masculinity and martial prowess and turned it into a story about domestic abuse, through to a 2014 production of Handel’s Hercules that was set in the context of the ‘war on terror’, the reception history of this myth has been one of discontinuity and conflict; how and why does each culture reinvent this narrative to address its own concerns and discontents, and how does each generation speak to, qualify or annihilate the certainties of its predecessors in order to understand, contain or exonerate the aggression with which their governors – of state and of the household – so often enforce their authority, and the violence to which their nations, and their homes, are perennially vulnerable?

Taylor and Francis; December 2016
352 pages; ISBN 9781317109082
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Title: Killing Hercules
Author: Richard Rowland
 
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9781317109082
9781317109099
9781472434029