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Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens



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Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens by Nancy Worman
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This study of the language of insult charts abuse in classical Athenian literature that centres on the mouth and its appetites, especially talking, eating, drinking, and sexual activities. Attic comedy, Platonic dialogue, and fourth-century oratory often deploy insulting depictions of the mouth and its excesses in order to deride professional speakers as sophists, demagogues, and women. Although the patterns of imagery explored are very prominent in ancient invective and later western literary traditions, this is the first book to discuss this phenomenon in classical literature. It responds to a growing interest in both abusive speech genres and the representation of the body, illuminating an iambic discourse that isolates the intemperate mouth as a visible emblem of behaviours ridiculed in the democratic arenas of classical Athens.

Author Biography

Nancy Worman is Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Barnard College, Columbia University, and author of The Cast of Character: Style in Greek Literature (2002).
Release date NZ
April 10th, 2008
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Cambridge University Press
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