|October 8, 2016||By Gregory Nagy listed under Sappho|
2016.10.08 | By Gregory Nagy
The starting point here is Song 44 of Sappho, “The Wedding of Hector and Andromache.” My focus, this time, is on Aeolian myths about Thēbē, an old walled city in northwest Asia Minor, to be located southeast of Mount Ida and northeast of the Gulf of Adramytteion.
|August 31, 2016||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Sappho|
2016.08.31 | By Gregory Nagy
This song, attributed to Sappho, shows the same kind of formulaic structure that we see at work in the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. Such a structure, in the case of Homeric poetry, indicates that this poetry originated from oral traditions. So also in the case of the songmaking exemplified by Song 44 of Sappho, the formulaic structure of this song indicates a parallel origin from oral traditions.
« Eros à nouveau maintenant » et la pragmatique mélique : note à G. Nagy, « Once again this time in Song 1 of Sappho »
|January 18, 2016||By Claude Calame listed under Guest Post, Sappho|
As the words that Sappho puts into the mouth of Aphrodite indicate, the goddess of love intervenes in this melic poem in a performative fashion. The deixis that accompanies her poetic intervention corresponds to the pragmatic form of the whole song.
|January 7, 2016||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Sappho|
Epigram 55 of Posidippus, a poet who flourished in the third century BCE, refers to the songs of Sappho. That is what I argued already in my postings for 2015.11.19 and 2015.12.03. This epigram, as we can see from those postings, is about a girl named Nikomakhe whose happy young life was sadly interrupted by a premature death. Nostalgically, the words of the epigram recall the happy times when this girl together with her girlfriends were singing the love songs of Sappho, sung one after another. In the present posting for 2016.01.07, I will argue that the poet pictures the singing of Sappho’s songs by these girls as a recurrent event that is simultaneous with their weaving at the loom.
|December 31, 2015||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Sappho|
Horace’s imitations of Sappho in Ode 4.1 and of Pindar in Ode 4.2 show his deep understanding of archaic Greek lyric poetry. Particularly striking is his visualization of Icarus in Ode 4.2 as a negative model for such poetry. The artificial wings of Icarus are seen as a foil for the natural wings of the swan, the sacred bird of Apollo, who is god of lyric poetry. Apollo’s swan thus becomes the ultimate model for the lyric poet.
|December 3, 2015||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Sappho|
Epigram 55 of Posidippus, a poet who flourished in the third century BCE, refers to the songs of Sappho. That is what I argued already in my posting for 2015.11.19. But the reference to Sappho in that epigram is even more complex than I had said in that posting. In that posting (at n8), as also in an earlier piece I had published (Nagy 2010, listed in my Bibliography), I had mentioned the idea of “girl, interrupted”—borrowing the words of the title given by Susanna Kaysen to her 1993 book, Girl, Interrupted, which was the same title used in the 1999 film version featuring Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, and Clea Du Vall. (The same title resurfaces, without any reference to its history, in an article by Daniel Mendelsohn 2015, also listed in my Bibliography.) I connected this idea of “girl, interrupted” with an idea that I saw being developed in the elliptic story told by the allusive words of Epigram 55 about a girl named Nikomakhe whose happy young life was sadly interrupted by a premature death. Nostalgically, the words of the epigram recall the happy times when this girl together with her girlfriends were singing the love songs of Sappho, sung one after another. Such singing of Sappho’s songs, I argued, promises to cancel the interruption of the girl’s happy life. But what is the context for such singing? Since my last posting for 2015.11.19, I have been reconsidering this question in e-conversations with a few dear friends, and what follows here in this posting for 2015.12.03 is a tracking of my reconsiderations.