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Abstract

This paper examines how nondramatic lyric genres were evoked, appropriated, and combined within fifth-century Athenian tragedy. I show how transitions from one song type to another within a tragedy could guide the audience’s reception of the dramatic action and help to shape the narrative arc of the play. The merging of multiple lyric genres within one choral song also demonstrates how broad the generic scope of tragedy could be, and how that breadth could be exploited in performance. I argue that, contrary to the myth of tragedy’s generic purity, which we see most clearly in Plato’s Laws, tragedy was by its very nature a hybrid or “super” genre, gathering together multiple song types within its choral odes.

Open Access
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
Author:

Abstract

This paper examines how nondramatic lyric genres were evoked, appropriated, and combined within fifth-century Athenian tragedy. I show how transitions from one song type to another within a tragedy could guide the audience’s reception of the dramatic action and help to shape the narrative arc of the play. The merging of multiple lyric genres within one choral song also demonstrates how broad the generic scope of tragedy could be, and how that breadth could be exploited in performance. I argue that, contrary to the myth of tragedy’s generic purity, which we see most clearly in Plato’s Laws, tragedy was by its very nature a hybrid or “super” genre, gathering together multiple song types within its choral odes.

Open Access
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
Studies in Archaic and Classical Greek Song, Vol. 4
Volume Editors: , , and
Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry foregrounds innovative approaches to the question of genre, what it means, and how to think about it for ancient Greek poetry and performance. Embracing multiple definitions of genre and lyric, the volume pushes beyond current dominant trends within the field of Classics to engage with a variety of other disciplines, theories, and models. Eleven papers by leading scholars of ancient Greek culture cover a wide range of media, from Sappho’s songs to elegiac inscriptions to classical tragedy. Collectively, they develop a more holistic understanding of the concept of lyric genre, its relevance to the study of ancient texts, and its relation to subsequent ideas about lyric.
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models