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By Dr Alexander Beecroft

During this e-book, Alexander Beecroft explores how the earliest poetry in Greece (Homeric epic and lyric) and China (the Canon of Songs) advanced from being neighborhood, oral, and nameless to being textualized, interpreted, and circulated over more and more wider components. Beecroft re-examines representations of authorship as present in poetic biographies equivalent to Lives of Homer and the Zuozhuan, and within the works of different philosophical and historic authors like Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Confucius, and Sima Qian. lots of those anecdotes and narratives have lengthy been rejected as spurious or prompted via naïve biographical feedback. Beecroft argues that those texts successfully negotiated the tensions among neighborhood and pan-cultural audiences. The determine of the writer hence served as a catalyst to a feeling of shared cultural identification in either the Greek and chinese language worlds. It additionally facilitated the emergence of either cultures because the bases for cosmopolitan international orders.

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Plato offers a negative confirmation of this fascination, suggesting at Republic 607c3–8 that “if anyone can speak to how pleasurable poetry and mimˆesis might be necessary to a well-regulated city-state, we would gladly welcome that poetry in” (e­ tina ›coi l»gon e«pe±n ¡ pr¼v ¡donŸn poihtikŸ kaª ¡ m©mhsiv, Þv crŸ aÉtŸn e²nai –n p»lei eÉnomoum”n , Œsmenoi ‹n katadeco©meqa). Plato’s very rejection of the possibility speaks, obviously, to his awareness of the possible claim that poetry might have to a role in the regulation of the polis, a claim held widely (if implicitly) in Archaic and early Classical times.

Introduction 21 but instead debate the conditions of production and distribution for early lyric poetry. The methodological lessons learned in this investigation are then applied to anecdotes about the better-known lyricists Alcman and Sappho. Chapter 4 begins with the anecdote of Stesichorus’ blinding by Helen, relayed by Plato in the Phaedrus. I use a reading of the context of this anecdote to explore the relationships between epichoric lyric and Panhellenic epic that this story mediates. Chapter 5 examines two poems from the Airs of Chen section of the Airs of the States in the Chinese Canon of Songs, which are glossed within the commentaries by a garish tale of adultery, transvestitism, and murder, set in 599/598 BC.

Like 26 27 Miner (1990) 26. It should be emphasized that the nature of both Zhang’s and Saussy’s work does not require them, in this context, to read classical Chinese poetics diachronically, something they both assuredly do in other contexts, and indeed within the texts cited. Miner (1990) 24n9 in fact develops the notion of an implicit poetics, and as I have observed already, it is from him that I take the term, although he uses it strictly of cultures that develop concepts of poetics but do not encode those concepts in textual form.

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