SECOND MEETING OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN SECTIONS
INTERNATIONAL PLUTARCH SOCIETY
"Plutarch's Unexpected Silences"
15-18 May, 2019
HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE THEME
SECOND MEETING OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN SECTIONS
INTERNATIONAL PLUTARCH SOCIETY
"Plutarch's Unexpected Silences"
15-18 May, 2019
HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE THEME
SECOND MEETING OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN SECTIONS
INTERNATIONAL PLUTARCH SOCIETY
"Plutarch's Unexpected Silences"
15-18 May, 2019
By Itidorfa07 (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped from original)
Lion of Chaeronea Statue

Abstract Details

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5/15/2019  |   11:00 AM - 11:30 AM   |  Hampton Inn Conference Room

Aesthetic Taste and Contemporary Lyric Poetry in Plutarch's Greece

This paper explores the question of contemporary lyric poetry – a genre surprisingly ‘silenced’ in Plutarch’s corpus – through the problematic figure of Sarapion. Contemporary poetic production is generally linked to Plutarch’s hedonistic characters and hence disapproved of by the narrator, but Plutarch’s more approved characters do favor some contemporary poets (Sosicles at QC 2.4, Aemilianus at de def. or. 419b). Chief among these is Sarapion, whose chorus is represented as winning at Athens in QC 1.10 and is called the only living ‘philosophical’ poet in the tradition of Orpheus and Xenophanes at de Pyth or. 402e-f. Vital to this approval is Sarapion’s own austere and overtly classicizing approach to lyric: Plutarch represents him as rejecting the pleasures of Sappho in favor of the ‘emotionless and pure’ words of the Sibyl and Pindar (de Pyth. or. 396f-397b), and this approach is likewise seen in his own surviving Doric hexametric praise of doctors (SEG 28.225), with its previously unrecognized rejection of Hellenistic love epigram in favor of early Orphic poetry (notably mêd' esidên thigeên te ~ Meleager AP 5.96 ên esidêis... ên de thigêis and apophami... abebalois ~ OF 245.1 phthegomai... bebêloi). Sarapion can hence usefully be compared to other epigraphically surviving poets like Julia Balbilla, who move in high circles connected to Plutarch’s and construct their ‘pure’ poetry as direct successors to canonical lyric.

David Driscoll (Primary Presenter), david.f.driscoll@gmail.com;
David F. Driscoll is a Lecturer at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on early Greek poetry and its ancient reception in the early Roman empire. His dissertation, Acting the Exegete: Homeric Quotation and Interpretation in Imperial Literary Symposia, analyzed the many uses to which Homer is put in these fictionalized evening banquets of the elite. He has also pursued interests in early Greek poetry in a digital humanities project entitled Mapping Greek Lyric: Places, Travel, Geographical Imaginary, accessible at http://lyricmappingproject.stanford.edu.

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