Thauma Idesthai: The Phenomenology of Sight and Appearance in Archaic Greek

Thauma Idesthai: The Phenomenology of Sight and Appearance in Archaic Greek

Thauma Idesthai: The Phenomenology of Sight and Appearance in Archaic Greek

Thauma Idesthai: The Phenomenology of Sight and Appearance in Archaic Greek

Excerpt

Mehr Licht -- the last words of a dying genius

Light -- no matter "where" it might "originate" -- necessitates sight and appearance. Such a statement should hold true for any culture at any time. It does not, however, necessarily explain a comprehensive cultural experience. For that we must turn to language and examine expression and the relationships this expression forms. The archaic period in Greece is especially appropriate for such a study because of the omnipresent role of light.

One volume is not, of course, sufficient for an adequate consideration of the ramifications of light in thought, art, ritual, and language. I have, however, attempted in the past to examine archaic expression as it relates to language as "philosophy." Archaic Logic helped, I hope, to dispel the false disjunction between archaic "philosophy" and "poetry." In this present volume, my focus will be upon the language of the "poet" rather than that of the "philosopher." I wish to reveal the basic, undeniable presence of light in the representation of archaic Greek, to discuss how this language deals with the necessarily concomitant phenomena of sight, seeming, and appearance, and to suggest a theory of archaic language that runs counter to a few modern literary theories but at the same time elevates the power of poetry both ancient and modern. I shall endeavor to show that the linguistic base or matrix of archaic Greek is a symbolic and structural one and that this combined nature is, in turn, a primary generative force both in the song and meaning of that language.

The proposed approach is not a usual one for an analysis of any language, let alone Homeric Greek. The nature of this linguistic . . .

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