Dissertation defense: Leonardo Cazzadori
"The Poet’s Display: The Genre of Hellenistic Expository Poetry"
From the middle of the fourth century BCE, Greeks started composing poetry that conveyed information about one or more aspects of the natural or social world. Despite the great variety of topics, the poems shared key features that made them stand out as a genre. My dissertation argues that the label “didactic poetry” does not capture these features. It offers a new way of interpreting this type of poetry. I treat this genre as “expository poetry" and interpret it in the context of early Hellenistic culture. The poets' goal was to display (“give an exposition of”) knowledge. Thus, a hallmark of this poetry is to feature a multifaceted "rhetoric of explanation" in the texts. I also explore how ancient readers experienced this rhetoric, responding to its authoritative, playful or pleasing qualities.
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