Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Monstrous soundscapes : listening to the voice of the monster in Greek epic, lyric, and tragedy
Author: Silverblank, Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 9799
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
Although mythological monsters have rarely been examined in any collective and comprehensive manner, they constitute an important cosmic presence in archaic and classical Greek poetry. This thesis brings together insights from the scholarly areas of 'monster studies' and the 'sensory turn' in order to offer readings of the sounds made by monsters. I argue that the figure of the monster in Greek poetry, although it has positive attributes, does not have a fixed definition or position within the cosmos. Instead of using definitions of monstrosity to think about the role and status of Greek monsters, this thesis demonstrates that by listening to the sounds of the monster's voice, it is possible to chart its position in the cosmos. Monsters with incomprehensible, cacophonous, or dangerous voices pose greater threats to cosmic order; those whose voices are semiotic and anthropomorphic typically pose less serious threats. The thesis explores the shifting depictions of monsters according to genre and author. In Chapter 1, 'Hesiod's Theogony: The Role of Monstrosity in the Cosmos', I consider Hesiod's genealogies of monsters that circulate and threaten in the nonhuman realm, while the universe is still undergoing processes of organisation. Chapter 2, 'Homer's Odyssey: Mingling with Monsters', discusses the monster whom Odysseus encounters and even imitates in order to survive his exchanges with them. In Chapter 3, 'Monsters in Greek Lyric Poetry: Voices of Defeat', I examine Stesichorus' Geryoneis and the presence of Centaurs, Typhon, and Gorgons in Pindar's Pythian 1, 2, 3, and 12. In lyric, we find that these monsters are typically presented in terms of the monster's experience of defeat at the hands of a hero or a god. This discussion is followed by two chapters that explore the presence of the monster in Greek tragedy, entitled 'Centripetal Monsters in Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound and Oresteia' and 'Centrifugal Monsters in Greek Tragedy: Euripides and Sophocles.' Here, I argue that in tragedy the monster, or the abstractly 'monstrous', is located within the figure of the human being and within the polis. The coda, 'Monstrous Mimesis and the Power of Sound', considers not only monstrous voices, but monstrous music, examining the mythology surrounding the aulos and looking at the sonic developments generated by the New Musicians.
Supervisor: Macintosh, Fiona ; Budelmann, Felix Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Greek Tragedy ; Monster Studies ; Ancient Greek Literature ; Greek Drama ; Greek Epic ; Greek Lyric Poetry ; Sound ; Voice studies ; Greek Mythology ; Monsters ; Homer