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Erôs in Ancient Greece$
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Ed Sanders, Chiara Thumiger, Christopher Carey, and Nick Lowe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.001.0001

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Lamp and Erotic Epigram: How an Object Sheds Light on the Lover’s Emotions

Lamp and Erotic Epigram: How an Object Sheds Light on the Lover’s Emotions

Chapter:
(p.277) 17 Lamp and Erotic Epigram: How an Object Sheds Light on the Lover’s Emotions
Source:
Erôs in Ancient Greece
Author(s):

Maria Kanellou

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.003.0017

The erotic epigrams combine tight spatial constraints with the development of a vocabulary of images. An appreciation of these images facilitates the understanding of the epigrammatists' techniques for the depiction of emotions. Kanellou uses the ‘lamp-epigrams’ as her case study, and shows how the epigrammatists condense human experiences and emotions into a single object. Its treatment by lovers depicts a shifting range of emotions (e.g. jealousy, anxiety, desolation, nervousness). The chapter also uses the ‘lamp-motif’ to exemplify the ability of the epigrams to create a ‘serio-comic effect’. Their seriousness derives from the exploration of the lover’s emotions in a psychologically plausible way. Simultaneously, the distance created between what is described and its perception by a detached reader adds a comic element to these epigrams. This makes it for all its brevity a versatile medium for the subtle exploration of the complex psychology and sociology of erôs.

Keywords:   epigram, lamp, concrete imagery, variation, erôs, emotions, serio-comicality, diachronicity

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