By Nancy Worman
This learn of the language of insult charts abuse in classical Athenian literature that centres at the mouth and its appetites, in particular conversing, consuming, consuming, and sexual actions. Attic comedy, Platonic discussion, and fourth-century oratory frequently installation insulting depictions of the mouth and its excesses so that it will deride expert audio system as sophists, demagogues, and girls. even supposing the styles of images explored are very admired in historic invective and later western literary traditions, this is often the 1st ebook to debate this phenomenon in classical literature. It responds to a transforming into curiosity in either abusive speech genres and the illustration of the physique, illuminating an iambic discourse that isolates the intemperate mouth as a visual brand of behaviours ridiculed within the democratic arenas of classical Athens.
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Additional resources for Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens
Lateiner (1995: 189–93) tracks how Odysseus plays the beggar in his deportment and attentiveness to the body’s vulnerabilities. Cf. again Svenbro 1976: 50–59; Pucci 1987: 157–208; Rose 1992: 108–12 on the belly’s demands; Sa¨ıd 1979b on violence in the banquet setting; also Nagy 1979: 222–32; Slater 1990. The mouth and its abuses in epic, lyric, and tragedy 37 book 17. The beggar initiates the confrontation by calling on the ritual trade-off that should govern the aristocrat’s response to the hungry man.
Thus, he argues, “the total body must revert to the dust of words, to the listing of details,” a reversion marked by the use of the blason (Eng. 55 This figure predicates a general characteristic – say, for our purposes, rapacity – on a series of anatomical 52 54 55 53 Barthes 1974: 162. Barthes 1974: 214–15. Cf. Agathon in Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae and see further in ch. 2. Barthes 1974: 113–14. Cf. Lanham 1991: 61, who defines “blazon” by the Latin effictio, the technique common in elevated, laudatory erotic poetry of listing the attributes that make the beloved beautiful.
See further below. 25 26 Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens that abusive modes shadow many, if not most, genres, often functioning in irreverent, devious, or sinister contrast to the perspectives openly valued by the given text. This book more generally treats those settings in the classical period in which such contrasts are most informative and consequential in the shaping of abusive vocabulary and tropes. The present chapter pieces together speech modes, character types, and imagery that influenced the beginnings of an iambic discourse centered on the mouth, and argues that this discourse developed, during a period of shifting ideas about community, out of the chafing between praise genres and the insult talk they attempt to foreclose.
Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens by Nancy Worman