Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond

Front Cover
To understand the emergence of Homeric poetry as an actual written text, it is essential to trace the history of Homeric performance, from the very beginnings of literacy to the critical era of textual canonisations in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Professor Nagy applies the comparative evidence of oral poetic traditions, including those that survived in literate societies, such as the Provenal troubadour tradition. It appears that a song cannot be fixed as a final written text so long as the oral poetic tradition in which it was created stays alive. So also with Homeric poetry, it is argued that no single definitive text could evolve until the oral traditions in which the epic was grounded became obsolete. In the time of Aristarchus, the gradual movement from relatively fluid to more rigid stages of Homeric transmission reached a near-final point of textualisation.
 

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Contents

a brief survey of concepts and aims
1
Mimesis and the making of identity in poetic performance
5
The Homeric nightingale and the poetics of variation in the art of a troubadour
7
Mimesis models of singers and the meaning of a Homeric epithet
39
Mimesis of Homer and beyond
59
Mimesis in lyric Sapphos Aphrodite and the Changing Woman of the Apache
87
Fixed text in theory shifting words in performance
105
Multiform epic and Aristarchus quest for the real Homer
107
Homer as script
153
Homer as scripture
187
dead poets and recomposed performers
207
Appendix
226
Bibliography
229
Index
248
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