"Secundum quasdam suas partes": Renaissance Readings of the Lyric Structures of Greek Tragedy


  • Guido Avezzù Independent Scholar




This article aims to offer a contribution to the study of the reception of metrical forms and related performative features from classical to Renaissance tragedy. In particular, it focuses on how the reader of ancient Greek drama perceived its performative varieties, and therefore it is concerned with the continental prehistory of the English reception of the lyrical performance of Greek tragedy. It first deals with how Greek plays were presented in printed editions, and then moves on to consider Aristotle’s Poetics with regard to the description of the linguistic resources of the tragic poiesis, in particular the use of rhythmos, metron, and melos, and their varying pertinence to the different structures of tragedy. In this respect, the article discusses a curious misreading of a passage of the Poetics that was to affect its interpretation as well as the reception of the notion of tragedy and the reuses of ancient versifications over time.

Keywords: Greek tragedy; Aristotle’s Poetics; Renaissance typography: Andronicos Callistos; Aldo Manuzio; Adrien Turnèbe; Willem Canter; Théodore de Béze; Theodore Goulston