Homeric questions

 
Citation
Title:
Homeric questions
Author:
Editor:
City:
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Year:
1996
Volume:
No. of Volumes:
Edition:
1st ed.
Pages:
180
Series Volume:
Series Editor:
Series Title:
Translator:
Language:
English
URL:
http://www.loc.gov/catdir/description/texas041/95039353.html,http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/texas041/95039353.html
DOI:
LCCN:
95039353
OCLC Number:
License
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ISBN:
0292755627
Last Updated:
November 27th, 2011
Abstract

 

The "Homeric Question" has vexed Classicists for generations. Was the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey a single individual who created the poems at a particular moment in history? Or does the name "Homer" hide the shaping influence of the epic tradition during a long period of oral composition and transmission?

In this innovative investigation, Gregory Nagy applies the insights of comparative linguistics and anthropology to offer a new historical model for understanding how, when, where, and why the Iliad and the Odyssey were ultimately preserved as written texts that could be handed down over two millennia. His model draws on the comparative evidence provided by living oral epic traditions, in which each performance of a song often involves a recomposition of the narrative.

This evidence suggests that the written texts emerged from an evolutionary process in which composition, performance, and diffusion interacted to create the epics we know as the Iliad and the Odyssey. Sure to challenge orthodox views and provoke lively debate, Nagy's book will be essential reading for all students of oral traditions.


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