Lyric and Poetry

Lesson no 7.

Starting my lesson with genre as an “invitation to form”
When analyzing, we have always put up questions about belonging to
a genre.
I am here only referring to the Spanish specialist in research of literature,
Claudio Guillén who is pointing out a matter, about our questioning of genres.
Do they have any interest on our studies, as they change in both form and context many times?.
Big systems of classification as found with Käte Hamburger ( 1957) and
Northrop Fry (1957) are not easy to adapt.
We follow therefore the thoughts of Claudio Guillén that genres and lower genres not any longer are a must, but a great folder of possibilities.
He says: “All previous forms, that is, become a matter in the hands of the artists work.” The form will be an invitation and an urge to the text which is to be written. It is to be added that the form you will decide to, as a lower genre,
very often belong to a convention of context that means, that the invitation will also refer to themes used in the history of genres.
This can give us not only history to a special genre but also future possibilities.

The Elegy.
The greek word “elegeia” which comes from “elegos” a song of lamentation.
This form will be found long back in our civilisation . The classic Greek elegy
is in form very distinct through its metric structure, but it is filled by a free amount of elegiac distica (sing. distikon) a verse which is build on two lines . At first one hexameter ( sex dactyls ) and then a following pentameter ( five dactyls)

A dactyl (Greek: δάκτυλος, dáktylos, “finger”) is a foot in poetic meter. In quantitative verse, often used in Greek or Latin, a dactyl is a long syllable followed by two short syllables, as determined by syllable weight. In accentual verse, often used in English, it is a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables—the opposite is the anapaest (two unstressed followed by a stressed syllable).
Both the hexameter and the pentameter have great possibilities of variations.
If the elegy, already since classical time, was rarely hard defined in form, it was very free in consideration of context and subjects. It was used in many different themes, also far from a song of lamentation. The elegy was probably close to the epos. Both written in the verse of hexameter, and both have as an important
part subjects of mysticism. The people making research mean that from the beginning the elegy theme was lamentation, before the sixth century B.C. when it started to be not so proper and the form gave opportunities for other themes as political. The leading man of law, Solon for example, wrote some elegies around
600 B.C. about happiness and justice. Many elegies were written to be used
on special festivities as drinking songs accompanied by flute players.

If the poem consist of only one elegy distikon, ( only two lines)it is often
an epigram we are talking about.
The epigram is one of the first distinguished lower genre which not was meant to be recited or to be sung. Often a script on a tombstone.

The elegy, is what is meant as a way of looking back to the essence of the referring meanings of the language.
The “invitation” is the distinction from the Elegy and the German poet
Friedrich Hölderlin wrote in his Epigram “Sophocles 1799”

Viele versuchen umsonst das Freudigste freudig zu sagen
Hier spricht endlich es mir, Hier in der Trauer sich aus./Hölderin/

Many tried however in vain, to in joy tell,the biggest happiness/
Here it will by itself speak to me, Here in the sorrow. /Hölderlin /

The Epigram has a surprising point of view and Hölderlins many years of
work with the tragedies of Sophocles, lead us to a dramatising of the Ego and to find the right expression for happiness which not is possible only in joy, but how the joy is speaking to him through the sorrows.

About Sophocles who lived /ca 497 B.C. – 406 B.C. We must mention his great importance in early Drama. The most famous tragedies are the Theban plays consisting of three plays : Oedipus the King ( also called Oedipus Tyrannus or by its Latin title Oedipus Rex), Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone. All three plays concerning the fate of Thebes during and after the reign of King Oedipus,
but not made as a trilogy. The plays written for festival competitions and with many years in between.
His Antigone,the Women in Trachis and Eelctra all known over the whole world.
Sophocles dramas were written later than for example Aischylos(also belonging to the great Greek drama authors living between 525 B.C. – 456 B.C. ) Sophocles wrote about 120 dramatic plays but only seven of them have been saved as complete works. Sophocles also gave new and important impulses to the drama where he added a third actor and increased the choir members from 12 into 15.
Sophocles was engaged in high political duties in Athen and became after his dead a subject for a so called Heroic cult. Both (Iophon one of his sons and a grandchild) became also authors of tragedies.

Here I must end my writings for today and will on next occasion write about
the Hymn.

©kerstin centervall