The Poetics of Failure in Ancient Greece

1st Edition

Stamatia Dova

Routledge
April 1, 2020 Forthcoming
Reference - 184 Pages - 15 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781472479112 - CAT# Y259058

USD$155.00

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Summary

The Poetics of Failure in Ancient Greece offers an innovative approach to archaic and classical Greek literature by focusing on an original and rather unexplored topic. Through close readings of epic, lyric, and tragic poetry, the book engages into a thorough discourse on error, loss, and inadequacy as a personal and collective experience.

Stamatia Dova revisits key passages from the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, Pindar's epinician odes, Euripides' Herakles, and other texts to identify a poetics of failure that encompasses gods, heroes, athletes, and citizens alike. From Odysseus' shortcomings as a captain in the Odyssey to the defeat of anonymous wrestlers at the 460 B.C.E. Olympics in Pindar, this study examines failure from a mythological, literary, and historical perspective. Mindful of ancient Greek society's emphasis on honour and shame, Dova's in-depth analysis also sheds light on cultural responses to failure as well as on its preservation in societal memory, as in the case of Phrynichos' The Fall of Miletos in 493 B.C.E. Athens.

Engaging for both scholars and students, this book is key reading for those interested in how ancient Greek literary paradigms tried to answer the question of how and why we fail.

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