University Seminars: Deborah Steiner (Columbia)

  • Columbia University Faculty House New York, NY 10027

University Seminars in Classical Civilizations

"The central issue addressed in this paper concerns the enduring link between choreia – song-dance in Plato’s definition – and the transformation of hearers into seers that occurs when a speaker or writer (in the endlessly repeated formula found in the Progymnasmata and other post-classical authors describing the role of enargeia in ekphrases) places things ‘before the eyes’ of an audience. In close readings of a series of passages from the early choral repertoire, two late archaic inscriptions, and two pots from the same period, I argue that the song-dance performances evoked in these accounts already replace hearing with autopsy and grant their hearer-viewers a synaesthetic, experiential encounter with events remote in time, space and ontology; as I further propose, they also engage in the conjuring up of the phantasiai so integral to later theoretical accounts of enargeia."