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The Experience of PoetryFrom Homer's Listeners to Shakespeare's Readers$
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Derek Attridge

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198833154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198833154.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

Classical Greece to Ptolemaic Alexandria: Writers and Readers

Classical Greece to Ptolemaic Alexandria: Writers and Readers

(p.55) 3 Classical Greece to Ptolemaic Alexandria: Writers and Readers
The Experience of Poetry

Derek Attridge

Oxford University Press

When the Phoenician alphabet was adapted for use in Greece remains a matter of debate, but the impact of writing on poetry appears most clearly around the end of the sixth century bc when papyrus rolls became more common. However, it was not until the establishment of Alexandria as a major centre of Greek culture in the later fourth century that the reading of poetry on the written page became the norm. This chapter focuses on the experience of poetry in Alexandria in this period. With the loss of the musical dimension of Greek lyric, poetry became more exclusively a matter of the speaking voice, and the epigram became a favoured genre. The extensive collection of papyrus rolls in the Library of Alexander made the work of earlier writers accessible and encouraged highly allusive verse. These qualities are best demonstrated in the poetry of Callimachus, one of whose poems is discussed as an example of the dramatic recreation of performance in a work designed to be read.

Keywords:   alphabet, writing, papyrus, Alexandria, library, lyric, epigram, Callimachus, performance

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