Elegy and Its Traditional Possibilities

R. Scott Garner

in Traditional Elegy

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199757923
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895281 | DOI:

Series: American Philological Association American Classical Studies Series

Elegy and Its Traditional Possibilities

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After summarizing the evidence for the oral performance of early Greek poetry in general, Chapter 1 represents an initial investigation into the possibilities that existed for the employment of traditional and formulaic phraseology within archaic elegy. Within Homeric epic, oral‐formulaic phraseology existed in symbiosis with a flexible partitioning system in which each stichic hexameter was separable into four recognizable units (or cola) which could then be combined to produce composite verses consisting of regularized and traditional content. In the hexameter portion of early elegiac couplets, this same four‐part division can also be observed, while the so‐called pentameter line within each couplet also regularly divides into four integral units. In the end analysis, it is clear that archaic Greek elegy possessed a metrical partitioning scheme that would have allowed for the possibility of employing formulaic phraseology.

Keywords: performance; elegy; formulaic phraseology; hexameter; pentameter; cola; metrical partitioning

Chapter.  6229 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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