BMCR 2005.10.37

Towards a Ritual Poetics

, , Towards a ritual poetics. Athens: Foundation of the Hellenic World, 2003. 119 pages ; 21 cm. ISBN 9607957253

This tantalizing book is difficult to obtain and the editors of BMCR regret that we were unable to acquire a review copy. It appears not to be on sale (though the publisher’s website reports, apparently incorrectly, that it is available for sale at several locations in Athens), but copies have appeared in a dozen major anglophone research libraries. It comprises four related chapters variously authored by the two collaborators: “Provisionally Structured Ideas on a Heuristically Defined Concept: Towards a Ritual Poetics” (by Y and R); “Ritual Poetics in Archaic Lesbos: Contextualizing Genre in Sappho” (by Y); “The Sacred and the Profane: Reenacting Ritual in the Medieval Greek Novel” (by R); and “Ritual and Poetics in Greek Modernism” (by R: deals particularly with Elytis).

The authors are well aware of the problematic nature of such a diachronically ambitious set of interpretations and they are careful not to make unnecessary statements of homogeneity or continuity about the materials they study. The underlying ambition is to determine a theoretical discourse that grasps “[t]he ‘text’/discourse as situated within a nexus of what we would call textural interactions with other discourses” (13) – that is one that reinscribes the textual experience in a context of productive and receptive cultural forms.

This book is to be distinguished from Ritual Poetics in Greek Culture, a collective volume edited by the same two scholars and including “essays by an international group of leading scholars,” which we hope to review in BMCR in the near future.