Poet, Public, and Performance in Ancient Greece

Overview

Poetry in archaic and classical Greece was a practical art that arose from specific social or political circumstances. The interpretation of a poem or dramatic work must therefore be viewed in the context of its performance. In Poetry, Public, and Performance in Ancient Greece, Lowell Edmunds and Robert W. Wallace bring together a distinguished group of contributors to reconstruct the performance context of a wide array of works, including epic, tragedy, lyric, elegy, and ...

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Overview

Poetry in archaic and classical Greece was a practical art that arose from specific social or political circumstances. The interpretation of a poem or dramatic work must therefore be viewed in the context of its performance. In Poetry, Public, and Performance in Ancient Greece, Lowell Edmunds and Robert W. Wallace bring together a distinguished group of contributors to reconstruct the performance context of a wide array of works, including epic, tragedy, lyric, elegy, and proverb.

Analyzing the passage in the Odyssey in which a collective delirium comes over the suitors, Giulio Guidorizzi reveals how the poet describes a scene that lies outside the narrative themes and diction of epic. Antonio Aloni offers a reading of Simonides' elegy for the Greeks who fell at Plataea. Lowell Edmunds interprets the so-called seal of Theognis as lying on a borderline between the performed and the textual. Taking up proverbs, maxims, and apothegms, Joseph Russo examines "the performance of wisdom." Charles Segal focuses on the unusual role played by the chorus in Euripides' Bacchae. Reading the plot of Euripides' Ion, Thomas Cole concludes that the task of constructing the meaning of the play is to some extent delegated to the public. Robert Wallace describes the "performance" of the Athenian audience and provides a catalog of good and bad behavior: whistling, shouting, and throwing objects of every kind. Finally, Maria Grazia Bonanno stresses the importance of performance in lyric poetry.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Diskin Clay
It is with real enthusiasm that I recommend Poet,Public,and Performance in Ancient Greece. It brings together the perspectives of both American and Italian scholars influenced by the work of Bruno Gentili. Gentili's vision of archaic Greek poetry as context-bound and performed before a public has created the horizon within which these essays take their orientation. Each and every one of these contributions calls our attention to the public and performed character and contexts of the variety of poems and speech acts discussed.
Booknews
Within the context of ancient Greek poetry as linked to the realities of social and political life, nine contributors to a 1994 conference of the American Academy in Rome reconstruct the performance context of a wide array of Greek poetry, including the epic, tragedy, lyric elegy, and proverb. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801867354
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/19/1997
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lowell Edmunds is a professor of classics at Rutgers University. His many books include Approaches to Greek Myth, available from Johns Hopkins. Robert W. Wallace is an associate professor of classics at Northwestern University. He is author of The Areopagos Council, to 307 b.c., also available from Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
The Laughter of the Suitors: A Case of Collective Madness in the Odyssey 1
The Poem of the Simonides Elegy on the Battle of Plataea (Sim. Frs. 10-18 W[superscript 2]) and the Circumstances of Its Performance 8
The Seal of Theognis 29
Prose Genres for the Performance of Traditional Wisdom in Ancient Greece: Proverb, Maxim, Apothegm 49
Chorus and Community in Euripides' Bacchae 65
The Ion of Euripides and Its Audience(s) 87
Poet, Public, and "Theatrocracy": Audience Performance in Classical Athens 97
All the (Greek) World's a Stage: Notes on (Not Just Dramatic) Greek Staging 112
Remarks at the American Academy in Rome, February 12, 1994 124
Notes 129
Contributors 169
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