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Title: Drastic Measures: Meter and the Birth of Book Lyric in Greece and Rome
Authors: Pedicone, Jason Christopher
Advisors: Feeney, Denis
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: Latin Poetry
Lyric Poetry
Subjects: Classical studies
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: "Lyric" poetry has been traditionally defined as such chiefly by metrical criteria. In Archaic Greece, lyric poetry was chiefly sung poetry in contrast to "epic" poetry which was recited. The transition from an oral to a written poetic culture in Greece caused meter to take on an even larger significance for the "lyric poets," a thematically and chronologically disparate group of poets who came to be identified as a specific group. Greek lyric poetry produced in the Hellenistic period displays extraordinary metrical self-consciousness, with lyric poets drawing on the received ethos of a particular lyric meter to add subtle layers of meaning to their work. Callimachus seems to have advocated such metrical virtuosity in his Iambi and Theocritus practiced it in his lyric Paidika. This phenomenon is also particularly well observed in Hellenistic Greek epigram as well as among the Greek technopaignia which used complex lyric metrical systems to create visual images on the page that interact with the literary meaning of the poem they present. This intense attention to meter was not lost on the Latin lyric poets, though it has gone somewhat unobserved by scholars. Beginning with Laevius, Latin poets inherited the Hellenistic Greek tradition of metrical self-consciousness in their lyric poetry, relying on meter to add layers of meaning to their works. A closer attention to the semantic ethos of a given meter in the lyric poetry of Horace and Catullus not only reveals that the Roman lyric poets' engagement with meter surpasses previous scholarly estimations but also yields new readings of important poems.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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