Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Fall/Winter 2010 (November 8, 2010)

Pindar's Verbal Art

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November 8, 2010

Pindar's Verbal ArtJames Bradley Wells’91

Harvard University Press

Cambridge, Mass., 2009

In Pindar’s Verbal Art, James Bradley Wells provides a linguistic and ethnographic study of the victory songs of the ancient Greek lyric poet.

Wells argues that while victory songs appealed to popular audiences, they primarily served elite interests, even while entertaining the masses. By analyzing Pindar’s lyrics on syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic levels, Wells is able to examine these victory songs as a historical record of the interactions between participants in their performance.

His research puts a new spin on Pindaric questions of genre, tradition, community, and performance, and ultimately presents an inside-out description of performance and speech that covers Pindar’s entire epinician corpus.

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