Open Seminar

Vol. 7.

On Experiencing Japanese Nō and Thinking About Greek Lyric

  • Speaker: Vanessa Cazzato (Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology)
  • Coordinator: Yasunori Katsusai (Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology)

Within the discipline of Classics, the comparison between Japanese Nō drama and Greek tragedy has traditionally been the chief avenue for exchange between scholars. This paper swerves from this well-trodden path by introducing a new area for comparative exchange in the genre of Greek lyric poetry. Greek lyric poetry was a form of performed poetry that flourished in the Greek world between roughly 650 and 450 BCE. Though it produced some of the most exquisite and most celebrated poetry in the Greek language, it died out when the social and cultural circumstances for its performance no longer subsisted, and what remains of it today is mostly a collection of philologically challenging fragmentary texts. One of the main interpretative challenges of this body of poetry lies in restoring to it the aspect of performance and making sense of all the ways in which this should inform our understanding of the bare texts. This paper will present some reflections on the ways in which experiencing in the flesh the Japanese form of performed lyric poetry that is Nō can stimulate new ways of thinking about Greek lyric poetry.