In this landmark collection of essays, renowned classicist Charles Segal offers detailed analyses of major texts from archaic and early classical Greek poetry; in particular, works of Alcman, Mimnermus, Sappho, Pindar, Bacchylides, and Corinna. Segal provides close readings of the texts, and then studies the literary form and language of early Greek lyric, the poets' conception of their aims and their art, the use of mythical paradigms, and the relation of the poems to their social context. A recurrent theme is the recognition of the fragility and brevity of mortal happiness and the consciousness of how the immortality conferred by poetry resists the ever-threatening presence of death and oblivion, fixing in permanent form the passing moments of joy and beauty. This is an essential book for students and scholars of ancient Greek poetry.
Charles Segal is Walter C. Klein Professor of the Classics at Harvard University. He is the author of many books, including Lucretius on Death and Anxiety (Princeton), Singers, Heroes, and Gods in the Odyssey (Cornell), and Sophocles' Tragic World: Divinity, Nature, Society (Harvard).