When Heroes Sing

When Heroes Sing : Sophocles and the Shifting Soundscape of Tragedy

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This book examines the lyrical voice of Sophocles' heroes and argues that their identities are grounded in poetic identity and power. It begins by looking at how voice can be distinguished in Greek tragedy and by exploring ways that the language of tragedy was influenced by other kinds of poetry in late fifth-century Athens. In subsequent chapters, Professor Nooter undertakes close readings of Sophocles' plays to show how the voice of each hero is inflected by song and other markers of lyric poetry. She then argues that the heroes' lyrical voices set them apart from their communities and lend them the authority and abilities of poets. Close analysis of the Greek texts is supplemented by translations and discussions of poetic features more generally, such as apostrophe and address. This study offers new insight into the ways that Sophoclean tragedy inherits and refracts the traditions of other poetic genres.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139512161
  • 9781139512169

Table of contents

Introduction: poetry, tragedy, and Sophocles; Part I. Poetic Authority: 1. Poetic progress in Ajax; 2. Waxing heroic in Trachiniae and Oedipus Tyrannus; Part II. Poetic Power: 3. Addressing lament in Electra; 4. Philoctetes' apostrophes; 5. The end and afterlife of poeticity: Oedipus at Colonus.
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Review quote

"Nooter has good observations on every play, and a strong sense of how the musical forms and marked language of a play contribute to its overall effect. Readers interested in stagecraft, rhetoric, or poetics (of tragedy and beyond) will benefit from the book. ...this is a creative reading of six of the seven extant plays of Sophocles from a new point of view, filled with fascinating observations." --BMCR
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About Sarah Nooter

Sarah Nooter is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Chicago.
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