Abstract

Abstract:

This paper offers a new reading of Sappho's Tithonus Poem as a theory of choreia as (among other things) a distinctive technology of time. It focuses on the way the poem mobilizes animals linked to musical aetiologies to conjure a series of different choral assemblages that enable the dissolution of the individual ego into an impersonal or supra-personal form of immortality or persistence. The evocation of different musical animals (the tortoise of the opening couplet and the dancing fawns of line 6) primes the audience to recognize the likely resonance at the end of Sappho's song of the story that the eternally aging Tithonus became the singing cicada. In the poem's representation, these musical animals are not isolated, but cooperatively entangled with other beings or groups. These ensembles serve, in turn, as models for the conjunction of the aging ego/singer and the chorus of paides addressed, to figure the distinctive ontologies and temporality of the choral collective.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3168
Print ISSN
0002-9475
Pages
pp. 1-39
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-08
Open Access
No
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