2004
Volume 55 Number 4
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573

Abstract

Abstract

In this paper I take a look at two lyric poems: fragment 31 of Sappho and fragment 130B of Alcaeus. The first-person speakers in these two poems were commonly identified with their authors in antiquity. I argue that this was not the case when the poems were first performed on Lesbos. For the original audience these first-person speakers were general and would not necessarily have been identified with either Sappho or Alcaeus. Other people on Lesbos who performed these poems as songs could identify with them as well. It was only when the poems left the island and were reperformed in cities like Athens that the gap between first-person speaker and performer became so great that the question arose who the first-person speaker might have been. He or she was then identified with Sappho and Alcaeus, and the author, as the autobiographical subject of his or her poetry, was born.

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2022-11-01
2023-01-31
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