AWARDS: AHRC Award For Postgraduate Research
SUPERVISED BY: Prof. Barbara Graziosi
Hesiod’s Works and Days: An Interpretive Commentary
Hesiod’s Works and Days was performed in its entirety, but it was also relentlessly excerpted, quoted and reapplied. My thesis places Works and Days within these two modes of reading and argues that the text itself, through Hesiod’s complex strategy of rendering elements self-contained and detachable whilst tethering them to their context for the purposes of the poem, sustains both treatments. However, Hesiod gives remarkably little advice on how to negotiate these two modes of reading. The seeds of reception are there in the poem’s structure and formulation, but a fully worked out schema of usage is not. I argue that this is a strategy used by Hesiod to emphasise the importance of self-sufficiency, which is consistently foregrounded in Works and Days as the Iron-Age ideal. Hesiod’s emphasis on self-sufficiency creates a productive tension with the didactic thrust of the poem: teaching always involves a relationship of exchange and, at least up to a point, reliance and trust. My thesis argues that the poem’s structure and modes of reading reflect the interplay between self-sufficiency and the very essence of didactic literature. Hesiod negotiates the potential contradiction between trust and independence by advocating not blind adherence to his teachings but thinking for oneself and working for one’s lesson.
I plan to present these issues in an extensive essay then follow them through the poem in a line-by-line analysis. By offering an analysis of the whole of Works and Days in a commentary format I treat the poem in much the same way as I argue it was experienced in antiquity and should be understood by modern scholars. On the one hand a commentary is by nature linear; one progresses through the poem from beginning to end, following narrative threads and tracing coherence. On the other hand the process of lemmatisation is essentially selective; as a commentator I have to choose which words or phrases to comment on, which lines to group together, and can give a clear sense of the (semi-)independent afterlife of passages. I aim to complement the available commentaries on Works and Days (West 1978, Ercolani 2010) first by offering a sustained analysis of what I consider to be key aspects of the poem (especially the tension between the emphasis on self-sufficiency and the didactic, relational mode), and second by using the commentary format self-reflexively to track different ancient reading practices.
‘A Woman of Consequence: Pandora in Hesiod’s Works and Days’, Cambridge Classical Journal 2011: 9-28.
‘Women and Memory: the Iliad and the Kosovo Cycle’ in Ceccarelli, P. and Castagnoli, L. (eds.) Greek Memories: Theories and Practices, forthcoming.
forthcoming 2012 Review of Wilding, R. (2011) The Odyssey of Homer: a New Translation, Sussex. Journal of Classics Teaching.
forthcoming 2012 Review of Koning, H. (2010) Hesiod: the Other Poet, Leiden. Classical World.
2011 Review of Montanari, F., Rengakos, A., Tsagalis, C. (eds.) (2009) Brill’s Companion to Hesiod, Leiden. Journal of Hellenic Studies 131: 174-5.
2011 Review of Richardson, N. (2010) Three Homeric Hymns : To Apollo, Hermes, and Aphrodite, Cambridge. Journal of Classics Teaching 23.
2011 Review of Tipping, B. (2010) Exemplary Epic: Silius Italicus' Punica, Oxford. Journal of Classics Teaching 22.
2009 Review of Faulkner, A. (2008) The Homeric Hymn to APhrodite: Introduction, Text and Commentary, Oxford. Journal of Hellenic Studies 129: 135-6
Organisation of Conference/Conference Panels
Co-organiser of the international conference' Conflict and Consensus in Early Hexameter Epic, Durham, July 2012
Organiser of the panel 'Gems of Wisom: hoe the Works and Days teaches' at the 143rd Annual Meeting of the APA 2012 (Philadelphia, January 2012).