The Rhetoric & Poetics Workshop is proud to present
(The University of Chicago)
Hypothêkai, or Giving Instructions in Archaic Hexameters
Commands in Hesiod’s Works and Days are not commonly distinguished from gnomes or general wisdom, but they should be treated separately. Hesiodic commands are a distinct style of poetry that appears elsewhere in the archaic hexameter. The paper identifies a poetic genre of hexametrical commands and argues that this is the genre of hypothêkai, or wisdom instructions. Previous treatments of hypothêkai have focused on subject matter; this paper offers a formal approach, which accounts for the ancient occurrences of “hypothêkai” considered generic by Friedländer (1913) and Kurke (1990), and also introduces new evidence with usages in the Homeric scholia. Hesiod’s Works and Days is the monumental instance of the genre; shorter examples appear in Homeric speeches, from a single command with some special forms around it, to thirty-line speeches that are miniature parainetic poems. Many oracles fall under the genre as well. After establishing the genre, the paper explores its characteristic forms. The paper aims primarily to make progress in the formal analysis of the Works and Days, but opens possibilities, not here explored, for interpretations of Homer and others.
Thursday, 17th of April, 3:30pm in Classics 21
A reception will follow. Persons with a disability who feel they may need assistance are asked to contact Kathy Fox (702-8514) in advance.
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