Afterword – Mots d’escalier
Clio, Eurydice, Orpheus
in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories
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William Shakespeare's imagination could make things from a thousand years ago appear; but he could do so only by making his stage and his actors take on the convincing appearance of a thousand-year-old reality. The dramatic imagination is celebrated as a potent force, as a power that can invoke the dead, recuperate a vanished past, reconstruct a lost history. One of the tutelary spirits of this book is Clio, muse of history, daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne: begotten by power and wisdom upon memory. The sweet song of Orpheus has powers beyond the 'grand / And louder tone' of Clio. Orpheus is classically a model for the historian, one especially apt today given our preoccupation with history as a waking of the dead. By means of his art Orpheus draws Eurydice out of the underworld.


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