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When Heroes Sing

by Sarah Nooter

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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