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Title Footnotes to Sappho: An Examination of the Female Poets of Greece.
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Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Classical Studies
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Michigan
Abstract In Footnotes to Sappho I explore the poetry of three of the most influential poets of the Hellenistic period: Erinna, Anyte, and Nossis. Very little of their works survived to the present day; consequently these poets are largely ignored by the scholarly community. Those scholars who do study the female poets tend to understand them as women first and poets second, assuming that their works can inform our understanding of the lives of women in the ancient world. In this dissertation I argue that this understanding impedes our ability to interpret their poetry and attempt to correct this by reading their poems as poems rather than as biographical evidence. Each chapter provides an examination of one author's life and works, beginning with a discussion of ancient testimonia. In the first chapter, "Erinna," I examine the poetry of the fourth-century BCE poet Erinna, whose life, homeland, and date are shrouded in mystery, and even the number of her works is disputed. In both sections, one on her epigrams and one on her famous yet fragmentary work, the Distaff, I examine the ways in which Erinna establishes two oppositions: movement/stasis and performance/text. The next chapter, "Anyte," examines the ways in which Anyte takes advantage of new developments in poetry in order to expand the possibilities for epigrammatic poetry. Anyte exploits the separation of epigram from its inscriptional beginnings by composing poems that never would have been inscribed, such as epitaphs for insects. I argue that many of her epigrams are interrelated and share themes and motifs and that this is evidence of an author (perhaps the first) who wrote poems specifically for a collection. The final chapter, "Nossis," explores the twelve epigrams of the poet Nossis, focusing on her use of polemic to reject men from her potential readership. This rejection is tongue-in-cheek, as an author cannot control who reads a text. Nossis' poetry also illustrates the lack of performance in epigram by configuring a series of poems as a partheneion. Like Erinna and Anyte before her, Nossis is her own poet and deserves to be read as such.
Subjects/Keywords Ancient Greek Poetry; Classical Studies; Humanities
Contributors Scodel, Ruth S. (committee member); Prins, Yopie (committee member); Seo, Joanne Mira (committee member); Acosta-Hughes, Benjamin (committee member)
Language en
Rights Unrestricted
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2027.42/93985
Repository umich
Date Indexed 2020-09-09
Grantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
Issued Date 2012-01-01 00:00:00
Note [thesisdegreename] PHD; [thesisdegreediscipline] Classical Studies; [thesisdegreegrantor] University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; [bitstreamurl] http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/93985/1/jonmilto_1.pdf;

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