Sappho as Aphrodite’s Singer, Poet, and Hero(ine): The Reconstruction of Context and Sense of the Kypris Song

Bierl, Anton. (2016) Sappho as Aphrodite’s Singer, Poet, and Hero(ine): The Reconstruction of Context and Sense of the Kypris Song. In: The Newest Sappho. P. Sapph. Obbink and P. GC inv. 105, frs. 1-4. Leiden, pp. 339-352.

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This contribution argues that the Kypris Song somehow represents the quintessential poetics of love. Through its self-reflective and religiously charged message, it reflects Sappho’s anthropological, ritual, and proto-philosophical pronouncement of the leading principle which guides her entire performance production. Like a motto, it bestrides general law and a very personal story of affection, passion and rationality, tackling both overwhelming affliction from external forces and the inner strife to maintain control over her extreme physical symptoms through self-awareness and a pure mind. This paper provides a brief analysis of the structure, texture, and meaning of the Kypris Song. First, it presents some recent reconstructions and addresses their problematic hermeneutical presuppositions in a monodic performance setting. Second, it develops some hypotheses regarding the original choral performance occasion as well as secondary reperformance contexts, and third, it elaborates thoughts on the metapoetic relevance of this song. Sappho’s audience envisages her body pierced and transfixed, and associates her with a heroic existence in an antagonistic relation to Aphrodite. Thus Aphrodite somehow becomes a reflection of a heroic Sappho. The image of the hero(ine) and Sappho merges through the performance of kleos and love, the medium and essence of Sapphic song.
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:392
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
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Last Modified:21 Dec 2017 08:55
Deposited On:07 Sep 2017 14:28

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