Dr Donald Lavigne
Impossible Voices: Archaic Poetics and Archaic Epigram
My his project investigates archaic Greek authorship by focusing on the interrelationship between the poetry of Homer, Hesiod and Archilochus on the one hand, and early Greek epigram on the other. The texts at the core of this project represent the most important literary contribution of archaic Greece, and yet are rarely studied as components of a coherent poetic system. The poems of Homer, Hesiod and Archilochus (all publicly performed by professional bards) and authorless epigrams (inscribed on public monuments) are generally treated as fundamentally different poetic modes. By putting aside a largely anachronistic model of genre that privileges form, content and occasion and focusing instead on the strategies of authorial self-presentation inherent in the poems (both performed and inscribed), this project offers a radically new analysis of archaic Greek poetics that accounts for the construction of different authorial personae, and for the authority of epigram within a wider poetic system. Further, this project contributes to modern theoretical debates concerning the idea of authorship and its historical development.