1st Edition

Dangerous Voices Women's Laments and Greek Literature

By Gail Holst-Warhaft Copyright 1992
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    Acknowledgements, A note on transliteration and translation, Introduction: Dangerous voices: women’s laments and Greek literature, 1. Death, tears and ideas: lament in cross-cultural perspective, 2. The painful art: women’s laments for the dead in rural Greece, 3. The politics of revenge in the laments of Inner Mani: duty, honour and poisoned eggs, 4. Mourning in a man’s world: the Epitaphios Logos and the banning of laments in fifth-century Athens, 5. From the Erinyes to the Eumenides: tragedy and the taming of lament, 6. Epitaphs and photographs: laments in modern Greek literature, Notes, Bibliography, Index


    Gail Holst-Warhaft

    `Holst-Warhaft's book is bold and wide-ranging, with many fine insights. It is also eminently readable' - Margaret Alexiou, Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora