Markos and Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor of Hellenic Studies
Back to the Future: Reading Lycophron's Enigmatic Alexandra
Monday, March 6, 2017
to 6:00 PM
117 Humanities Building
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA
Lycophron's Alexandra, long considered one of the most difficult Greek poems, is an elaborate and nuanced investigation of the question of poetic truth. Although the poem has sometimes been held in critical distain, it raises interesting questions about the poet's relationship to the literary tradition. These questions are set up in the first thirty lines, which amount to something of a programmatic prologue. In embedding a prophecy by an inspired speaker--a prophecy that covers the events of the epic cycle--in the mouth of a messenger who promises to report it truthfully and completely but simultaneously calls attention to its ineffability, the poem highlights the question of veracity, important consequences for our understanding of the poet's project .