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Talking song in early Greek poetry

Agócs, P.A.; (2011) Talking song in early Greek poetry. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The thesis is a contribution to the study of early Greek poetics. It surveys general terms for speaking and singing in early Greek poetry from a foothold in performance theory, narratology and the ethnography of speaking, examining the pragmatics of these terms, the values and ideas about poetics, performance, literary tradition and textuality that they imply, and the contribution they make to the self-fashioning of poetic voice. The main focus is the interaction of early fifth-century choral melos’ with older hexameter traditions (Homer, Hesiod, and the Hymns), though Attic tragedy and comedy are also taken where necessary into account. The argument, which attempts both to correct old misprisions through a more thorough reading of the primary sources and to provide new interpretations of familiar texts, falls into three main parts. The first is a study of the most important Greek terms for song and singing: hymnos, melos, molpe, oime, and aoide. The second chapter studies the values that attach to song, and aoide and related concepts in particular, examining how the terms and implied values of Homeric and Hesiodic singing are used in the metapoetic discourse of fifth-century praise-poetry to articulate a complex vision of song’s tradition and functions. The third chapter begins with a survey of speech-terms (particularly epos, mythos, and logos) across the corpus of early Greek song, designed to elucidate the background of meanings available to early fifth-century poets. It continues with a close examination of how speech-terms are used, together with words for song, to create the sense of a speaking voice so crucial to melic praise, to mark themes and phases in the lyric argument, to express a sense of the ode as a verbal object with an existence both in and outside performance, and to articulate a wider sense of oral tradition. The conclusions draw the main themes of the argument together in an analysis of types of melic textuality and voice. The material in the chapters is supplemented by appendices which provide both discussion of key passages, and catalogues of important material to which the text alludes, but which it does not discuss in detail.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Talking song in early Greek poetry
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Greek and Latin

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