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Download Dangerous Voices: Women's Laments and Greek Literature by Gail Holst-Warhaft PDF

By Gail Holst-Warhaft

In Dangerous Voices Holst-Warhaft investigates the facility and that means of the traditional lament, specially women's mourning of the lifeless, and units out to find why laws used to be brought to minimize those laments in antiquity. An research of laments starting from New Guinea to Greece means that this basically girl paintings shape gave ladies huge energy over the rituals of demise. The chance they posed to the Greek country triggered them to be appropriated via male writers together with the tragedians. Holst-Warhaft argues that the lack of the normal lament in Greece and different international locations not just deprives girls in their conventional keep an eye on over the rituals of demise yet leaves all mourners impoverished.

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Additional info for Dangerous Voices: Women's Laments and Greek Literature

Example text

Regarding the pitch, timbre and tuning of instruments, we have limited knowledge, but that these musical elements were associated with certain emotions we know from various sources, including Plato. 54 My own reading of modern Greek folk laments in the chapter that follows will focus largely on textual analysis, but I hope to show that it is impossible to ignore the non-verbal qualities of lament even in the absence of a recording or score. We must at least be aware that the reaction of a contemporary audience to any lament, including those we find in classical tragedy, were as much conditioned by their musical structure, the timbre and pitch of the lead lamenter’s individual voice, her sobs, moans, shrieks and sighs and by the polyphonic texture of the women’s voices, as they were by the text.

Even the narrative laments addressed to a particular individual can be reused for others, or sung outside the ritual context of a funeral or memorial service, but they remain firmly connected to the memory of a particular person who died and to the woman who composed them. One such lament is the long narrative ballad known as ‘Tou Vetoula’ or ‘Ti Ligorous’. It is interesting that many of the laments are known by the name of the lamenter who originally composed them, as well as by the name of the male subject of the narrative.

In formal English the DANGEROUS VOICES 27 imagery of committing something to memory is firmly linked to the processes of writing —inscribe, imprint, engrave, impress—whereas the informal expressions —keep, hold, carry, bear in mind—suggest a different attitude to memory as a weighty substance, a load to carry or preserve in the storehouse of the mind. This imagery is reinforced, in laments from many cultures, by the common practice of amassing proper names. The separation and loss that dislocate the life of the individual and interrupt normal social intercourse demand not only an emotional expression of pain, but the restoration of a sense of permanence.

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