Steiner - Feathers Flying Avian Poetics in Hesiod, Pindar, and Callimachus.pdf

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Feathers Flying: Avian Poetics in Hesiod, Pindar, and Callimachus Author(s): Deborah Steiner Source: The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 128, No. 2 (Summer, 2007), pp. 177-208 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 12/09/2013 16:22 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] . The Johns Hopkins University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The American Journal of Philology. This content downloaded from 157.92.4.6 on Thu, 12 Sep 2013 16:22:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
FEATHERS FLYING: AVIAN POETICS IN HESIOD, PINDAR, AND CALLIMACHUS DEBORAH STEINER o(pbo; b noXx&6 Ei& c6; (pIA•" gaO6vxe; ;8 XEd, pot xxyyXoxai KaOpKS ( (lC•6ptc0 p(Xvt y(XpUt0ov At; xptbg ;pvtxa O~eiov- -Pind. 0. 2.86-88 Abstract. Thispaper treats a topos found in Greek poetry from the archaic to the Hellenistic period, involving a confrontation between antagonistic and contrast- ing species of birds. Tracing the continuities and distinctions among the uses of the conceit in Hesiod, Pindar, and Callimachus, I argue that on each occasion it serves poets as a means of articulating their literary personae and the ethical, stylistic, and generic choices shaping their compositions. Not just a means of poetic polemic, self-definition, and self-positioning, the avian terms used within the conceit also come to figure in the literary critical vocabulary of the late fifth century and its redeployment in Hellenistic times. IN AN ARTICLE OF 1996, A.-T. Cozzoli traced the Nachleben of the pas- sage above from Pindar's second Olympian, where the singer contrasts himself, the "bird of Zeus," with a pair of garrulous crows. Cozzoli dem- onstrated how subsequent Greek and Roman poets drew on the conceit in various programmatic contexts. According to her fine reading, the core message behind the image-a caution against imitating the inimitable, of undertaking a feat above or foreign to the individual poet's present enter- prise or powers-remains a constant through later uses of its elements. I want to extend the parameters of Cozzoli's discussion, suggesting that Pindar's feathered protagonists descend froma still earlier avian pair and that such aerial hostilities assume multiple configurations and functions within Greek song, giving authors a device for self-representation and the expression of their ethical, stylistic, and generic choices.' While Cozzoli ICozzoli 1996. In her treatment of the Roman material, Cozzoli does touch on questions of style but not in any systematic or sustained fashion; the issue is absent from her discussion

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