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By Elton T. E. Barker

This publication investigates the most attribute and fashionable positive aspects of old Greek literature - the scene of dialogue or agon, within which with various levels of ritual characters sq. as much as one another and interact in a competition of phrases. Drawing on six case reviews of other forms of narrative - epic, historiography and tragedy - and authors as various as Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Sophocles and Euripides, this wide-ranging learn analyses every one instance of dialogue in its context in response to a collection of interrelated questions: who debates, while, why, and with what results? in line with the altering representations of discussion throughout and inside of diverse genres, it exhibits the significance of discussion to those key canonical genres and, in flip, the position of literature within the building of a citizen physique in the course of the exploration, copy and administration of dissent from authority.

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Extra resources for Entering the Agon: Dissent and Authority in Homer, Historiography and Tragedy

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Prologue 25 equals . . What this urban framework in fact defined was a mental space; it opened up a new spiritual horizon. ( Jean-Pierre Vernant (1982), 47–8) One subsidiary effect of this study will be to draw attention to the importance of context on the act of interpretation. In their introduction to an edited volume of literary essays on the theme of ‘agonistics’, Elizabeth Sauer and Janet Lungstrum argue that the agon, as a concept, is dynamic and dialogic. Their description of the agon as avoiding definitive resolution and putting the onus on a response suggests something more than the weighing of arguments that one might expect from antilogy; they emphasize rather the range of actors involved—‘texts, author, historical events, and cultural voices’—and the processes by which authority is displaced and dispersed through the text as these competing voices jostle for attention and endorsement.

25; cf. 16–18. Working in the tradition of modern liberalism, Farenga (2006) puts a similar onus on the activity of the individual, in terms of the relationship of citizenship and selfhood (pp. 10–12) and the intersubjectivity of the self in deliberative democracies (pp. 12–14). 53 Giddens (1984), 25. 54 Also relevant is Bourdieu (1990), whose work derives more from the field of anthropology than political science. He writes: ‘contrary to simplistic uses of the distinction between infrastructure and superstructure, the social mechanisms that ensure the production of a compliant habitus are .

18 The few exceptions are notable. One is Agamemnon (Il. 102), who attempts to use the assembly as a vehicle for self-promotion: see Haubold (2000), 55–8. See also the first Ithacan assembly in the Odyssey: Ch. 2, n. 39 below. 19 That is not to say that the individual’s pursuit of glory is not an issue in the assembly; the Homeric warrior not only must perform his deeds but also speak about them—be ‘a speaker of words and a doer of deeds’, in Phoenix’s words (Il. 443). But in their capacity as heroes, the characters enjoy a different (even destructive) relationship with the laos, in the Iliad at least.

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