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Kyriakou, Poulheria

Theocritus and his native Muse

A Syracusan among many

Series:Trends in Classics - Supplementary Volumes 71

    129,95 € / $149.99 / £118.00*

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    Publication Date:
    October 2018
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    Aims and Scope

    Hellenistic poets opted and were very likely expected to deal meaningfully, and perhaps competitively, with the tradition they inherited. They also needed to secure the goodwill of actual or potential patrons. Apollonius, the author of a novel heroic epic, eschews references to literary polemics and patronage. Callimachus often adopts a polemical stance against some colleagues in order to suggest his poetic excellence. Theocritus chooses a third way, which has not been investigated adequately. He avoids antagonism but ironizes the theme of poetic excellence and distances himself from the tradition of competitive success. He does not cast his narrators as superior to predecessors and contemporaries but stresses the advantages and merits of colleagues. This rejection of conceit is connected with a major strand in Theocritean poetry: the power of word, including song, to provide assistance to characters in distress is a major open issue. Language is versatile and potent but not all-powerful. Song gives pleasure but is not a panacea while instruction and advice are never helpful and may even prove harmful. Most genuine pieces are ambiguous and open-ended so that the aspirations of characters are not presented as doomed to failure.


    vii, 368 pages
    Type of Publication:
    Theocritus; Idylls; bucolic poetry; Hellenistic poetry

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    P. Kyriakou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.

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