Acting and the Remains of the dead: From Polus’s Urn to Yorick’s Skull

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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

5:00 pm

Hybrid (see description for details)

Open to the Public

This event is part of the GC CUNY Classics Program Lecture Series. This is a hybrid event, taking place at the CUNY Graduate Center, Room 4422, and online.

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In both classical antiquity and the early modern world, playwrights peopled their stages with the undead, reviving figures from mythic pasts as well as reversing fatalities within their own plays. The actors who brought these characters to life engaged in a version of necromancy, the dark art of making magic from the dead. As early modern English writers began invoking the legacy of classical theaters to bolster their own theatrical experiments, they began turning to classical anecdotes about actors to reimagine this task. Reflecting on the ambivalent relationship between the dead and the living, and between real and feigned passions, these stories at times drew on the actual material remains of the dead to imagine the unsettling act of reanimation.  


Tanya Pollard, Professor, Brooklyn College and The CUNY Graduate Center 

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