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The Alexandra of LycophronA Literary Study$
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Charles McNelis and Alexander Sens

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199601899

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601899.001.0001

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The Imagery of the Alexandra

The Imagery of the Alexandra

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 The Imagery of the Alexandra
Source:
The Alexandra of Lycophron
Author(s):

Charles McNelis

Alexander Sens

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601899.003.0002

An obvious source of the Alexandra’s obscurity, and one for which it is often derided, is the complexity of its imagery. Although the infamous difficulty of the poem resides partly in the unfamiliarity of some of the stories it contains, the unrelentingly figurative character of its language poses at least as great an impediment to comprehension as its mythology or its diction. This chapter surveys some vexing features of the poem’s imagery that contribute to its difficulty. It locates the poem’s approach to metaphors, similes, and metonyms against the backdrop not only of epic and tragedy, but also of the dithyrambic “New Music,” and argues that the poem’s language belongs squarely in an ongoing tradition.

Keywords:   metaphor, simile, metonym, New Music, imagery

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