9780801433016

After Antiquity: Greek Language, Myth, and Metaphor

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780801433016

  • ISBN10:

    0801433010

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-07-01
  • Publisher: Cornell Univ Pr

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Summary

With the publication of Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition, widely considered a classic in Modern Greek studies and in collateral fields, Margaret Alexiou established herself as a major intellectual innovator on the interconnections among ancient, medieval, and modern Greek cultures. In her new, eagerly awaited book, Alexiou looks at how language defines the contours of myth and metaphor. Drawing on texts from the New Testament to the present day, Alexiou shows the diversity of the Greek language and its impact at crucial stages of its history on people who were not Greek. She then stipulates the relatedness of literary and "folk" genres, and assesses the importance of rituals and metaphors of the life cycle in shaping narrative forms and systems of imagery. Alexiou places special emphasis on Byzantine literary texts of the sixth and twelfth centuries, providing her own translations where necessary; modern poetry and prose of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and narrative songs and tales in the folk tradition, which she analyzes alongside songs of the life cycle. She devotes particular attention to two genres whose significance she thinks has been much underrated: the tales (paramythia) and the songs of love and marriage. In exploring the relationship between speech and ritual, Alexiou not only takes the Greek language into account but also invokes the neurological disorder of autism, drawing on clinical studies and her own experience as the mother of autistic identical twin sons.

Author Biography

Margaret Alexiou is George Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Gregory Nagy
Acknowledgments xv
A Note on Transliteration and Translations xvii
Introduction: Forward to the Past 1(1)
Aims and Scope
1(1)
Some Preliminary Definitions
2(6)
The ``Continuity Question'' Revisited: Old Debates and New Approaches
8(11)
PART I. LANGUAGE
Greek Polyglossia: Historical Perspectives
19(24)
Distinctive Features of the Greek Language
20(2)
Diversity and Change: From Ancient Greek to Koine
22(1)
Conflicts of Language and Style in the Byzantine Period
23(4)
The Emergence of Dialect Literature: Cyprus and Crete
27(2)
Forms of Greek in the Ottoman Period
29(3)
After National Independence: Struggles for Hegemony
32(4)
From ``Diglossia'' to ``Standard Modern Greek''?
36(7)
The New Testament and Its Legacy
43(23)
Voices from the Past
43(2)
The New Testament
45(7)
The Emergence of a Byzantine Genre: The Kontakion and Romanos
52(3)
Precursors and Precedents
55(4)
Romanos' Kontakia On the Nativity and On the Resurrection
59(7)
Nonliterary Genres: Some Private and Public Voices
66(30)
Writing Home
66(11)
Of Purple Pants and Chamber Pots: The Imperial Baggage Train
77(4)
Fragments of a Byzantine Tradition of Oral Song?
81(15)
New Departures in the Twelfth Century
96(55)
Texts and Contexts
96(4)
The Timarion
100(11)
Eros and the ``Constraints of Desire'' in Hysmine and Hysminias
111(16)
Prodromos and the Politics of Hunger
127(24)
PART II. MYTH
The Diversity of Mythical Genres
151(21)
From Speech Genres to Mythical Genres?
151(1)
What Is Myth?
152(4)
Linking Past and Present: Myth and History
156(1)
Averting Danger: Myth, Ritual, and Religion
157(2)
Dialogic Ethics: Parables and Fables, Proverbs and Riddles
159(2)
Songs and Tales: Myth and Fantasy
161(3)
From Myth to Literature
164(1)
How Do Myths Mean?
165(2)
The Nereid ``Kalypso''
167(5)
Myth in Song
172(39)
Ideology and Folklore: Greek Songs and European Models
172(4)
The Greek Canon, the Ballad, and the Muses
176(4)
Toward New Approaches?
180(3)
Form and Structure: Melody and Narrative
183(6)
Focal Conflicts: Life beyond the Grave
189(22)
Magic Cycles in the Wondertales
211(55)
The Cinderella of Greek Folklore?
216(5)
Spinning Yarns and Narrative Contingency
221(10)
Teasers, Twisters, and Movers: Metanarrative and Paranarrative
231(4)
Weaving Pictures: The Interpenetration of Themes and Images
235(14)
Metamorphosis: Cyclical Images of Body and Cosmos
249(4)
Cosmology and Morality
253(7)
The Tree of Life and the Cosmic Cycle
260(2)
Concluding Comments
262(4)
Between Worlds: From Myth to Fiction
266(51)
The Greek Novel, c. 1830-1880
267(8)
Paralogic Fiction: The Case of Georgios Vizyenos
275(2)
Ethnicity and Sanity
277(9)
Antithesis as a Strategy of Reading/Writing
286(10)
Ekphrasis: Between Time and Place
296(14)
Coda: After Vizyenos
310(7)
PART III. METAPHOR
The Resources of Ritual
317(32)
Ritual and Metaphor
317(2)
Contextualizing Ritual: Everyday Life
319(6)
Autistic Rituals
325(3)
Ritual and Reciprocity
328(4)
Rituals of the Life Cycle: Separation, Transition, and integration
332(13)
Greek Texts: Resources of the Past
345(4)
Metaphors in Songs of the Life Cycle
349(62)
Journey
352(9)
Clothes and Gems
361(11)
Hair
372(2)
The Garden of Love
374(3)
Dangerous Spaces: Hunting and Hunted
377(4)
Burning and Withering
381(3)
Tears and Poison, Blood and Water
384(5)
Plants and Fruits of the Earth
389(7)
Hunting Birds
396(3)
The Tree of Love and Life
399(6)
What Is Love?
405(2)
Who Is Speaking?
407(4)
Conclusion: Backward to the Present 411(4)
Appendix: Romanos the Melodist (Fifth to Sixth Centuries A.D.) 415(38)
Notes 453(50)
Key to References to Songs and Tales 503(2)
Bibliography 505(42)
General Index 547(16)
Index of Themes and Images 563

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