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Summer Preparatory Reading

There are one or two things students should do in preparation for this module over the summer. And please don't miss the "and finally" section at the bottom: in many ways, actually, that's the most important thing here.

The first, most obviously, is to begin to explore the range of poets that this module covers, from Sappho and Alcaeus through to Timotheus.

These poets’ extant works are most easily accessible in the five volumes of Greek Lyric Poetry (ed. Campbell) and the extra two volumes covering Pindar (ed. Race), in the Loeb Classical Library (available online of course). There is a convenient, if highly idiosyncratic, translation by Martin West in the Oxford World’s Classics Series. Additionally, there is an accessible and attractive translation of Pindar’s victory odes by Nisetich, Pindar’s Victory Songs. For Sappho, the prescribed translation is by Anne Carson, If Not, Winter. (Current first-year students will have had access to and experience of some of this material already via Greek Culture and Society).

NB Classics students taking this module as a Greek-text option must make headway in reading the set texts over the summer vacation, starting with Budelmann’s Green and Yellow edition, Greek Lyric: A Selection, which you will need to purchase.

Primary Texts to be studied in translation:

prescribed translations are West (OUP) and Carson, If Not, Winter for Sappho; supplemented – via course extracts – by excerpts from Nisetich for Pindar, Victory Odes; Race for Pindar, fragments; and Campbell (Loeb) for Bacchylides and Timotheus; Loebs are of course available online also.

Archilochus, fragments; Stesichorus, fragments; Sappho, fragments 1, 2, 16, 31, 55, 96, 105a plus New Sappho fragments published since 2009 ('Tithonus' and 'Brothers' poems); Alcaeus fragments 42 Voigt, 130B Voigt, 140 Voigt, 326, 332, 333, 350; Ibycus fragments 282a (=S151), 286. 287; Anacreon fragments 357, 358, 359, 395, 413, 417; Simonides fragments 531, 543, 581; Bacchylides Ode 5 and fragment 20B; Pindar, Olympians 1 and 6, Pythians 1 and 8, Nemean 8, Paean 9, and fragment 123; Timotheus, Persae.


Primary Texts, Original Greek (for Q800/Q801):

Knowledge of all the above in translation, plus specific knowledge of the following in the original Greek:

Sappho fragments 1, 2, 16, 31, 55, 96, 105a, plus New Sappho Tithonus poem (fragment 58); Alcaeus fragments 140 Voigt, 326, 332, 333, 350; Stesichorus, Geryoneis fr. 19 lines 31–47; Ibycus fragments 282a (=S151) and 286; Anacreon fragments 357, 358, 359, 395, 413, 417; Simonides fragments 531, 543, 581; Bacchylides Ode 5; Pindar, Olympian 1, Nemean 8, Paean 9, and fragment 123.


The second is to begin to familiarize yourself with some of the parameters and scholarly disputes governing research in this field.

Helpful surveys include articles in Felix Budelmann’s The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric (Cambridge, 2009) - again, available online via the library.

For an orientation towards controversies in contemporary research, please see the introduction to Budelmann and Phillips (eds.) Textual Events: Performance and the Lyric in Early Greece (Oxford, 2018) – available electronically via the library.

Background reading is also provided by the introduction to Budelmann’s 2018 commentary Greek Lyric: A Selection (Cambridge).

And finally...

You might like to consider the recent - and still ongoing - controversy about the provenance, transmission, and publication of some of this material - see e.g. opens in a new window and opens in a new window. You might like to start to consider why it is that some people, seemingly, have thought it ok to behave like this; and start to think about what is at stake in assuming this kind of attitude to the material remains of Classical antiquity, and its authors. See also now

Because part of what makes this module tick is not simply the close-reading of fabulous but fragmentary pieces of lyric poetry from a lost past, but the broader, often complex, often controversial, frames of reference – disciplinary in terms of what makes Classics what it is; aesthetic; even ethical – in which such reading activity is taking place right now.