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Cassandra and the female perspective in Lycophron's Alexandra

Biffis, G; (2012) Cassandra and the female perspective in Lycophron's Alexandra. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Whilst the majority of students of Lycophron’s Alexandra have come to the poem with a particular set of scholarly skills which have limited the thematic scope of their inquiry, the aim of this thesis, by contrast, is to argue that in the poem each detail is a piece of a puzzle, where only the sum of its parts conveys the full meaning of it. The present work is multi-disciplinary and aims to show that heterogeneous elements of the poem, traditionally belonging to different fields of study (literary, historical, archaeological), are in reality markedly interconnected according to patterns that reveal their meaning only when considered in their entirety. The interrelation of these aspects relays on a main unifying principle: the fact that the narrator is a woman. The thesis argues that Cassandra is a convincingly constructed character, and not a mere medium used to give coherence to the numerous stories and episodes that constitute the poem itself. Then, it focuses in particular on how the femininity of Cassandra determines several characteristic aspects of the poem: content selection, focalizing perspective, and the stylistic register in which the prophecy is uttered. The text requires us to consider all these different strands at once in order to appreciate the importance of the poem for the study of the literary presentation of womanhood in Greek culture. The thesis addresses the interaction between Cassandra’s narrative and the marked interest within the text in religious practices, in particular those relating to Cassandra herself. Lycophron’s poetics refers constantly to the world of myth and the past, while actively involving its imagined present readership and also future generations. In this respect the poem is in harmony with experiments, conducted by other Hellenistic poets, with the interaction of different temporal levels.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Cassandra and the female perspective in Lycophron's Alexandra
Language: English
Keywords: Lycophron, Alexandra, Cassandra, Greek religion, Greek literature, Hellenistic poetry
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1352826
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