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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
Re: Pyrrhus Speech
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2265  Wednesday, 22 December 1999.

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Dec 1999 10:48:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2245 Re: Pyrrhus Speech

[2]     From:   Martin Mueller <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Dec 1999 10:03:31 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2236 Re: Pyrrhus Speech


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Dec 1999 10:48:25 -0500
Subject: 10.2245 Re: Pyrrhus Speech
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2245 Re: Pyrrhus Speech

Shakespeare is merely adapting a device associated with epic poetry (and
other sorts) into Elizabethan tragedy.  Homer, Virgil and many (probably
most) of their imitators incorporated the visual representation of myths
into their epics (on armor or painted on the walls of temples) as a way,
not only of displaying their poetic prowess and glorifying cultural
mythologies, but of demonstrating parallels between the story at hand
and earlier manifestations of analogous struggles.  By implication,
perhaps, the story at hand similarly reflected elements of the poet's
contemporary world.

Clifford Stetner

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Mueller <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Dec 1999 10:03:31 -0600
Subject: 10.2236 Re: Pyrrhus Speech
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2236 Re: Pyrrhus Speech

Fran Barash observes acutely that the Pyrrhus scene reads like the
description of a painting. And it belongs in a genre of "ekphrastic
poetry" or poetry that behaves as if it were describing a picture.
There was a need for such poetry in a world where pictures were hard to
come by.  Morris Eaves has written eloquently on our need for images and
the scarcity of images in a pre-photographic world.

But it is only one step from describing an image you have seen to
describing an image you have never seen. The vividness and pictorial
accuracy of ekphrastic poetry is no evidence that there ever was a
picture.
 

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