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6 - From Homer’s Banquet to Fauchois’ Feast

The Odyssey’s Odyssey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2021

Carlo Caballero
Affiliation:
University of Colorado Boulder
Stephen Rumph
Affiliation:
University of Washington
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Summary

The tragedian Aeschylus is said to have called his plays slices from Homer’s banquet, by which he presumably meant slices from what Homer had left behind on the table.1 It is much easier, as Aeschylus knew (and so famously did), to develop stories that Homer probably knew but did not tell or (as Roman poets eventually did) to weave new stories using Homeric techniques than it is to rework in an artistically effective way what Homer had already done in the Iliad and Odyssey. A change of genre may certainly make that task easier, and the aim of this essay is to look specifically at what happens when a slice from Homer’s own platter becomes a libretto and then, in turn, a performable opera. The specific process in question involves the self-styled poème lyrique of the prolific dramatist, librettist, and actor René Fauchois and Pénélope, the opera made from it by Gabriel Fauré.

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Fauré Studies , pp. 134 - 151
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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