Poetic and Performative Memory in Ancient Greece: Heroic Reference and Ritual Gestures in Time and Space

  Calame, Claude. 2009. Poetic and Performative Memory in Ancient Greece: Heroic Reference and Ritual Gestures in Time and Space. Hellenic Studies Series 18. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_CalameC.Poetic_and_Performative_Memory_in_Ancient_Greece.2009.


It is difficult to find words to describe the intellectual challenge offered by the invitation from the Classics Department of Harvard University in Fall 2000 to present the four Carl Newell Jackson lectures to an audience which managed to combine critical attention with a welcoming acceptance for the non-traditional positions I have always defended. The suggestions made at these opportunities for learned exchange, punctuated by convivial gatherings organized by my hosts, were so numerous that it would be impossible to name all who made them. Arguing as I do for collective and practical concepts of time and space, I would like to lend to my expression of sincere gratitude that same character of community by combining my thanks and those of my family to colleagues and the learned community. I would also like to express my thanks to the students of the EHESS seminar, who listened with attentive engagement to these same reflections in French.

The idea of concentrating not only on poetic and practical concepts of space but also on the spatial component of these specifically Greek temporalities came from a lively interdisciplinary post-graduate seminar with Jean-Michel Adam and Mondher Kilani at the University of Lausanne in 1994/95, centered on the topic “Time, memory, discourse: Local temporalities, learned temporalities.” The discussion continued during the academic years 1998/99 and 1999/2000, focusing on “Discursive representations of time.” It was marked in June 1999 by the international colloquium organized with our anthropologist colleagues from Pavie, Turin, Milan, Lausanne, and Paris (the “Patomipala” group), the theme of which was “Discursive representations of time: Historiography and Anthropology.” All this is to say that the thoughts expressed in the five chapters which follow owe a great deal to that other collective and interdisciplinary enterprise.

Claude Calame

Lausanne—Paris, April 2003

Foreword to the English Version

During the translation of this work into English, I had the intellectual pleasure of being in regular contact with my colleague, the fine translator Harlon Patton. To him and to the Fondation Irène Nada Andrée Chuard-Schmid (University of Lausanne), which supported the translation, go my heartfelt thanks, as well as to Gregory Nagy, generous friend and Editor-in-Chief of the Hellenic Studies Series, and to Lenny Muellner, Emily Collinson, and other members of the editorial staff of the Center for Hellenic Studies.

Claude Calame

Paris—Reckingen, February 2008