By Nancy Worman
This research of the language of insult charts abuse in classical Athenian literature that centres at the mouth and its appetites, specially speaking, consuming, consuming, and sexual actions. Attic comedy, Platonic discussion, and fourth-century oratory usually set up insulting depictions of the mouth and its excesses with a purpose to deride specialist audio system as sophists, demagogues, and ladies. even supposing the styles of images explored are very popular in historic invective and later western literary traditions, this can be the 1st ebook to debate this phenomenon in classical literature. It responds to a transforming into curiosity in either abusive speech genres and the illustration of the physique, illuminating an iambic discourse that isolates the intemperate mouth as a visual brand of behaviours ridiculed within the democratic arenas of classical Athens.
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Extra info for Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens
But cf. Bakhtin 1984: 426–27, who argues that the blason in medieval French usage originally denoted praise or blame: “a systematic dissection and anatomization of woman in a tone of humorous, familiar praise or denigration” (427). , Herrick’s “False in legs, false in thighes;/ False in breast, teeth, hair, and eyes” (“Upon Some Women,” 1648 : 109; and Rochester’s “Her hand, her foot, her very look’s a cunt” (“The Imperfect Enjoyment”), 1680 : 14, line 18). , mouth, throat, belly, anus).
Both the Iliad and the Odyssey establish vibrant and disturbing interconnections between the mouth (and jaws, belly) as an ingester of food and the mouth (and teeth, tongue) as an expeller of verbiage. Food and words are traded across the teeth’s barrier, and different types of ingestion are matched with different styles of speaking. Furious, grieving characters like Achilles and Hecuba envision themselves as cannibals hovering over the bodies of their enemies, ready to feed on their raw flesh.
Cf. discussions in chs. 3, 4, and 6. That the Cyclops narrative turns up in comic drama and that certain comedies had satyr choruses further support this overlap. Cf. Cratinus, Odysseuses, Dionysalexandros, and Satyrs; Callias, Cyclopes. 22 Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens as victims. Both comedy and the satyr play, then, make use of distinctions among excessive speaking styles and correlate these with other uses of the mouth. Both also set the confrontations in the context of feasting and sacrifice, matching verbal modes to these ritualized forms of consumption.