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Entering the Agon : dissent and authority in Homer, historiography and tragedy

Barker Elton T. E.


This book investigates one of the most characteristic and prominent features of ancient Greek literature—the scene
of debate or agon, in which with varying degrees of formality characters square up to each other and engage in a
contest of words—and sets out for the first time to trace its changing representations through Homeric epic,
historiography and tragedy. Combining literary dialogic theory with sociological approaches towards structure,
it makes the claim that debate is best understood in relation to an institutional framework, in which issues of
authority and dissent are variously set out and worked through. Engaging with key recent scholarship, it shows
that the Homeric poems establish, and scrutinize, the assembly as an institution which accommodates dissent, in
line with an understanding of epic narrative as foundational; that the historians' marginal status as writers in
an oral culture manifests itself in their representing debate as a challenge to the utility of public institutions;
and that tragedy marks the formal institutionalization of dissent in its adversarial structure with an onus on
speaking back, offering a new way of thinking about tragic politics in terms of the process by which dissent is
enacted and managed. Aimed at both scholar and student, including anyone interested in the origins of political
thought, this book demonstrates not only the fundamental importance of debate to these genres, but also the ways
representations of debate reproduce an agonistic mentality which intersects with and informs the broader cultural
construction of a citizen community.

Сведения об издании: 
Oxford : Oxford Univ. Press, 2009
ISBN 978-0-19-954271-0
Тематическое подразделение: