The Swineherd and the Bow
Representations of Class in the "Odyssey"
By (author) William G. Thalmann
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Swineherd and the Bow by William G. Thalmann
Book DescriptionThe "Odyssey", William G. Thalmann asserts, does not describe an actual historical society at any period, but gives a selected, idiosyncratic and contradictory picture to serve ideological ends, representing rather than reproducing social reality. "The Swineherd and the Bow" is an ambitious attempt to apply literary and social science theory in order to reveal Homeric epic as a form of class discourse within the context of early Greek social and political development. Drawing upon recent scholarship in archaeology and cultural anthropology, Thalmann considers the evolution of Greek culture up to the formation of the polis in the late 8th century BC. He demonstrates that Greek society was already stratified well before that date and that the distinction between an elite and other classes was well developed. Thalmann concentrates on the representation of slaves and on the dynamics of competition and family structure in the contest of the bow to interpret the "Odyssey" - and, implicitly, epic poetry generally - as an intervention in the conflicts that surrounded the birth of the polis. In the interests of the aristocracy, the poem appropriates a traditional cultural paradigm, enshrined in the story of the Hero's return. The distortions of dark age reality, he maintains, should form the basis of an historicizing reading of the poem.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801434792
(229mm x 152mm x 32mm)
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 31-May-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author William G. Thalmann
Apollonius of Rhodes and the Spaces of Hellenism, Hardback (September 2011)» View all books by William G. Thalmann
Using spatial theory developed in the social sciences, this book explores the representation of space in Apollonius's Argonautika as both an affirmation of Greek culture and a questioning of the differences between Greeks and non-Greeks. It presents a unique perspective on Apollonius' famous poem and on the early Ptolemaic period.
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