The Counterfactual Chorus: Euripides' Andromache 274-308

Sarah Olsen, Williams College

The second choral ode of Euripides' Andromache poses a provocative question: what if the Trojan War had never happened? Drawing from work on queer temporality and counterfactual form, my talk will explore how this ode revisits and revises the epic past in order to imagine an alternative future. I will suggest that the performative role of the dramatic chorus makes it particularly well-suited to the articulation of possibilities and paths foreclosed by the dominant narratives of tragedy.


Sarah Olsen is Assistant Professor of Classics at Williams College, Massachusetts. She has published on Greek literature and culture from Homer to Heliodorus, with articles on such topics as sexuality in the ancient novel, the representation of dance in Greek vase painting, and the conceptualization of kinesthetic empathy in Greek poetry and philosophy. Her recent article on female sympotic dancers, which was published in both French and English in the interdisciplinary gender studies journal Clio, received the Barbara McManus award (2019) from the Women's Classical Caucus for excellence in scholarship on women or gender in antiquity. She is the author of Solo Dance in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature: Representing the Unruly Body

(Cambridge University Press, 2020).


NB: All attendees are required to abide by current university public health guidelines. Visitors to campus must complete an online screening no more than two hours before arrival, and all attendees must wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.