Visualizing the Cologne Sappho: Mental Imagery Through Chorality, the Sun, and Orpheus

Bierl, Anton. (2016) Visualizing the Cologne Sappho: Mental Imagery Through Chorality, the Sun, and Orpheus. In: The Look of Lyric: Greek Song and the Visual. Leiden, pp. 307-342.

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Sappho builds her poetic discourse in the New Cologne papyrus on very specific cultural and visual patterns that through mental imagery help to shape the cognitive reception, particularly in oral performance contexts. Sappho draws on images and concepts of chorality and mythic dancing in a solar context. As cultural symbols they are in service to highlight the unifying themes of beauty, poetic and musical self-referentiality, and rejuvenation. The mention of Orpheus in the new Hellenistic poem O lends additional confirmation to the metapoetic and self-referential reading of Sappho’s poem on Tithonus. Death, night, lament, love, song, music, and the cosmos—in short, all that Orphism represents—are the decisive themes that unite the fragments. The deferral of love becomes its own song in the interruption and continuation of a reperformance. The original pedagogical-didactic reception gives way to secondary receptions, determined by changing occasions of reperformance. In the 4th century BC the new performative practice even showcases a Hellenistic cult of poets and metapoetic self-consciousness. Cyclic rejuvenation and the erotic poetics of desire and absence are more constitutive than ever. Through its deep visualizing power Sappho’s songs have lived on indeed, even until they have reached us today.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Altertumswissenschaften > Fachbereich Gräzistik > Griechische Philologie (Bierl)
UniBasel Contributors:Bierl, Anton F.H.
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Series Name:Mnemosyne. Supplements
Issue Number:391
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
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Last Modified:21 Dec 2017 10:09
Deposited On:07 Sep 2017 14:14

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