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Orality, Textuality, and the Homeric Epics: An Interdisciplinary Study of Oral Texts, Dictated Texts, and Wild Texts
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Orality, Textuality, and the Homeric Epics: An Interdisciplinary Study of Oral Texts, Dictated Texts, and Wild Texts (Hardback)

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Written texts of the Iliad and the Odyssey achieved an unprecedented degree of standardization after 150 BCE, but what about Homeric texts prior to the emergence of standardized written texts? Orality, Textuality, and the Homeric Epics sheds light on that earlier history by drawing on scholarship from outside the discipline of classical studies to query from three different angles what it means to speak of Homeric poetry together with the

word "text".

Part I utilizes work in linguistic anthropology on oral texts and oral intertextuality to illuminate both the verbal and oratorical landscapes our Homeric poets fashion in their epics and what the poets were striving to do when they performed. Looking to folkloristics, part II examines modern instances of the textualization of an oral traditional work in order to reconstruct the creation of written versions of the Homeric poems through a process that began with a poet dictating to a scribe.

Combining research into scribal activity in other cultures, especially in the fields of religious studies and medieval studies, with research into performance in the field of linguistic anthropology, part III investigates some of the earliest extant texts of the Homeric epics, the so-called wild papyri.

By looking at oral texts, dictated texts, and wild texts, this volume traces the intricate history of Homeric texts from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period, long before the emergence of standardized written texts, in a comparative and interdisciplinary study that will benefit researchers in a number of disciplines across the humanities.

Jonathan L. Ready is a professor of classical studies at Indiana University. He is the author of Character, Narrator, and Simile in the Iliad (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and The Homeric Simile in Comparative Perspectives: Oral Traditions from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia (Oxford University Press, 2018), as well as numerous articles on Homeric poetry. He is also the co-editor of Homer in Performance: Rhapsodes, Narrators, and Characters (University of Texas Press, 2018) with Christos C. Tsagalis and serves as the co-editor of the annual Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic (Brill).

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