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Bacchylides and the emergence of the lyric canon

Hadjimichael, T.A.; (2011) Bacchylides and the emergence of the lyric canon. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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For almost two millennia the dismissive judgement of pseudo-Longinus on Bacchylides has influenced the reception of his work. This underestimation of Bacchylides has persisted in modern scholarship even after papyrus discoveries recovered the primary text for research. This relative lack of interest is reflected in a still very limited bibliography. The thesis, which draws on current Reception Theory, aims to reposition Bacchylides in both the field of Greek Lyric Poetry and modern scholarship. The dissertation analyses the path of Bacchylides in time, and focuses especially on the poetry and criticism that was crucial for canonisation and survival of both Bacchylides and the rest of the lyric poets. Chapter 1 deals with the geographical movement of Bacchylides in his lifetime, examined against the background of the commissions of Pindar and Simonides. Chapter 2 focuses on Bacchylides’ relationship with Athens and echoes of his poetry in Greek drama (tragedy and Aristophanic comedy), while Chapter 3 on Herodotus tests the Athenian evidence and offers a pan-Hellenic look at lyric reception. Reception of lyric by Plato and the Peripatetics in Chapter 4 is the transitional stage from Classical Athens to the Hellenistic era. Chapter 5 discusses the move from song to written texts. Finally, Chapter 6 focuses on Hellenistic scholarship on lyric poetry and on the establishment of the lyric canon. Two important issues in the thesis are the transmission of texts from oral song-culture to written sources, and the process of canonisation. Bacchylides is a peculiar poetic figure and a paradox; his poetry and survival do not seem to follow the norm and pattern of the rest of the lyric poets. The thesis is an attempt to fill in a gap in modern scholarship and in the process of examining the transmission of Bacchylides’ work in antiquity to clarify the larger process of canonisation and the media through which Greek lyric poetry as a whole reaches Alexandria and survives.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Bacchylides and the emergence of the lyric canon
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Greek and Latin
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1317748
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