This volume makes clear that even within the short period of their floruit archaic Greek trimeters underwent profound changes. The shift in thematography, use of person, and vocabulary reveals that iambic verse is a complex, definable genre with all the dynamism that implies and with a traceable development. The various chapters examine the subject matter, morphology, and diction of the trimeters both within the genre in a diachronic fashion and in relation to elegy. The metrical inscriptions and later iambic poetry are also considered, as the author ponders the rise of tragedy and the disappearance of serious iambus. This work is of interest not only to scholars of archaic lyric poetry but also of tragedy and sympotic practices.
Readership: All those interested in the history and development of archaic iambus and elegy, in later iambic poetry, and in the origins of tragedy, as well as in the performative and social aspects of the symposium.
Metrical Constraint and the Interpretation of Style in the Tragic Trimeter is an interpretation of the choices the Greek tragedians made in regard to certain forms of standardized variations in word order and prosody. Dr. Nicholas Baechle demonstrates that in their compositional practice the tragedians collectively decided to use certain prosodic variations to fit metrically intractable words and phrases. This book is grounded in metrical constraint and the mechanics of trimester composition, but also extends to a greater understanding of the stylistic sensibilities of the tragedians and of their feeling for the generic ethos of tragic dialogue. By means of comparisons with Aristophanes' general practice, and with paratragic imitations of tragic style, the distinctiveness of the style of tragic dialogue versus the rendition of speech in comedy is made clear. Metrical Constraint and the Interpretation of Style in the Tragic Trimeter offers a critical and sophisticated perspective on Greek drama that will appeal to anyone interested in language and classical studies.
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