Performance and Gender in Ancient Greece: Nondramatic Poetry in Its Setting

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 367 pages
1 Review

"Like love, Greek poetry was not for hereafter," writes Eva Stehle, "but shared in the present mirth and laughter of festival, ceremony, and party." Describing how men and women, young and adult, sang or recited in public settings, Stehle treats poetry as an occasion for the performer's self-presentation. She discusses a wide range of pre-Hellenistic poetry, including Sappho's, compares how men and women speak about themselves, and constructs an innovative approach to performance that illuminates gender ideology. After considering the audience and the function of different modes of performance--community, bardic, and closed groups--Stehle explores this poetry as gendered speech, which interacts with performers' bodily presence to create social identities for the speakers. Texts for female choral performers reveal how women in public spoke in order to disavow the power of their speech and their sexual power. Male performers, however, could manipulate gender as an ideological system: they sometimes claimed female identity in addition to male, associated themselves with triumph over a defeated (mythical) female figure, or asserted their disconnection from women, thereby creating idealized social identities for themselves. A final chapter concentrates on the written poetry of Sappho, which borrows the communicative strategy of writing in order to create a fictional speaker distinct from the singer, a "Sappho" whom others could re-create in imagination.


Originally published in 1997.


The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.


 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Community Poetry
26
Women in Performance in the Community
71
Male Performers in the Community
119
Bardic Poetry
170
The Symposium
213
Sapphos Circle
262
Conclusion
319
Chronology of Primary Sources
326
Transliterated Terms
329
Bibliography
331
Index Locorum
353
General Index
357

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page xiii - Greece and Rome GRBS Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies HSCP Harvard Studies in Classical Philology JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies...
Page ix - I continue to thrive in the intellectual support of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University...
Page 19 - The basic opposition is between efficacy and entertainment, not between ritual and theatre. Whether one calls a specific performance ritual or theatre depends on the degree to which the performance tends toward efficacy or entertainment.
Page 8 - The citizens are not naive bumpkins taken in by the leader's manipulation, but participants in a theatricality whose rules and roles they understand and enjoy. These are alert, even sophisticated, actors in a ritual drama affirming the establishment of a new civic order, and a renewed rapport among people, leader and protecting divinity.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information