Rice University

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Lecture/Lecture Series

Classical Studies

Speaker: Alexander Sens
Markos and Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor of Hellenic Studies
Georgetown University

Back to the Future: Reading Lycophron's Enigmatic Alexandra

Monday, March 6, 2017
4:00 PM  to 6:00 PM

117  Humanities Building
Rice University
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 .

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