Dangerous Voices: Women’s Laments and Greek Literature

In Dangerous Voices Holst-Warhaft investigates the power and meaning of the ancient lament, especially women’s mourning of the dead, and sets out to discover why legislation was introduced to curb these laments in antiquity. An investigation of laments ranging from New Guinea to Greece suggests that this essentially female art form gave women considerable power over the rituals of death. The threat they posed to the Greek state caused them to be appropriated by male writers including the tragedians. Holst-Warhaft argues that the loss of the traditional lament in Greece and other countries not only deprives women of their traditional control over the rituals of death but leaves all mourners impoverished.

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1 Comment

  1. Women’s Laments and Power In this study, Holst-Warhaft discusses the power and politics of women’s laments, examining their appropriation by male, literary tragedians; the reasons behind their suppression in ancient (and modern) Greece; and what they can tell us about literature and society. A fascinating study.

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