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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: October 2009

1 - Introduction



The subject of this book is the relationship between the Greek poetry of the Archaic and Hellenistic periods. In particular, I examine the ways in which the three major extant Hellenistic poets (Callimachus, Theocritus and Apollonius of Rhodes) use Archaic models to construct their primary narrators. The Archaic models I focus on are Archaic poets from the eighth to the fifth centuries bc, including Homer, Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, Pindar and Bacchylides, as well as the fragmentary remains of Archaic epic, iambos, elegy and lyric (both ‘choral’ and ‘monodic’). My scope is therefore large – I cover the great majority of primary narrators in Greek poetry (outside drama) from the eighth to the third centuries bc. I hope, therefore, that this book will be useful to those interested in any of the primary narrators of Greek poetry in this period.

The explicit foregrounding and development of primary narrators is much more common in Archaic lyric, for example, than in Archaic epic. The Homeric epics make prominent use of direct speech, and generally eschew the presentation of an intrusive narrator who catches the attention of the reader or audience, by largely avoiding such things as emotional and evaluative language on the part of the primary narrator. Hence I concentrate on examining the influence of non-epic Archaic narrators on Hellenistic narrators.

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