Pindar's Eyes is a ground-breaking interdisciplinary exploration of the interactions between Greek lyric poetry and visual and material culture in the early fifth century BCE. It draws on case studies of classical art and texts to open up analysis of lyric to the wider theme of aesthetic experience in early classical Greece, with particular focus on the poetic mechanisms through which Pindar's victory odes use visual and material culture to engage their audiences. Complete readings of Nemean 5, Nemean 8, and Pythian 1 reveal the poet's deep interest in the relations between lyric poetry and commemorative and religious sculpture, as well as other significant visual phenomena, while literary studies of his evocation of cultural attitudes through elaborate use of the lyric first person are combined with art-historical treatments of ecphrasis, of image and text, and of art's framing of ritual experience in ancient Greece. This specific aesthetic approach is expanded through fresh treatments of Simonides' and Bacchylides' own engagements with material culture, as well as an account of Pindaric themes in the Aeginetan logoi of Herodotus' Histories.
These come together to offer not just a novel perspective on the relationship between art and text in Pindaric poetry, but to give rise to new claims about the nature of classical Greek visuality and ritual subjectivity, and to foster a richer understanding of the ways in which classical poetry and art shaped the lives and experiences of its consumers.
David Fearn is Reader in Greek Literature at the University of Warwick. His research focuses on the poetics, aesthetics, and the socio-political contextualization and reception of archaic and classical Greek literature, and of lyric poetry in particular, though he is also interested in classical historiography, rhetoric, and ancient aesthetics more broadly. His first book, Bacchylides: Politics, Performance, Poetic Tradition (OUP, 2007), sought to rehabilitate the reputation of this underappreciated poet. He has also edited a collection of essays entitled Aegina: Contexts for Choral Lyric Poetry. Myth, History, and Identity in the Fifth Century BC (OUP, 2011) discussing the interrelation of poetry and culture on the Greek island of Aegina.