Department Colloquium: Donald Lavigne (Department of Classics, Texas Tech University) "Old Media, and New: Early Greek Epigram"

Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 4:30pm

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Speaker: Donald Lavigne, Associate Professor of Classics, Texas Tech University

Title: Old Media, and New: Early Greek Epigram

Abstract: In this paper, I will explore the ways in which early Greek epigram interacts with the more developed forms of Archaic Greek poetry. Given the strong textuality of epigram, it has been assumed that the genre is quite distinct from the media of other Archaic poetry and the performance traditions intimately associated with them. While it is true that media matters in the experience of poetry, it is equally true, as McLuhan has pointed out, that new media take some time to develop their particularities of experience. In this early period, when the genre of epigram was only just emerging, it will be instructive to analyze these short poems and their accompanying monuments as elements of and participants within the performance culture of Archaic Greece. In so doing, I will argue that epigram has a foot in both camps, operating within a rich and developed song culture even as its materiality spawns the nascent features of the literary. A new media is born in, through and, eventually, against the old.

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