Comparative Studies in Greek and Indic Meter


This monograph, to put it simply, would not have been written without the precedent of Calvert Watkins’s work on Indo-European metrics. His field is linguistics, a discipline which I especially admire for the elegant precision that it can bring to literary studies. For my own approach to Hellenic literature and pre-literature, I have learned from him a τέχνη that has always been an invaluable aid.

The work of Roman Jakobson, who has throughout his long career applied linguistics to literary criticism with convincing results, has been an inspiration for attempting such a format as mine. Then too, in my effort to correlate formulaic and metrical studies, I would have been helpless without the training I received from Albert Lord. All the more did I appreciate the advice and encouragement of both these scholars. Besides Professor Lord, I wish to thank the other members of Harvard’s Comparative Literature Department for their support, especially Craig La Drière and Harry Levin.

There are many others to thank for many things, but I am most grateful to Cedric Whitman, the maestro of my Homeric education, for his vigorous foreword. At various stages of my writing, I had valuable advice also from the following: W. S. Allen, L. D. Benson, Ann Bergren, Victor Bers, Kathleen Birk, Morton Bloomfield, Deborah Boedeker, Sylvia Brown, {xv|xvi} Linda Clader, Wendell Clausen, Anna Davies, Robert Dyer, Mark Edwards, Douglas Frame, Mason Hammond, Daniel Ingalls, G. S. Kirk, Mary Lefkowitz, Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Leonard Muellner, Blaise Nagy, Joseph Nagy, David Packard, Berkley Peabody, Mildred Powell, C. P. Roth, Richard Sacks, Richard Shannon, Michael Silverstein, Edward Tripp, Emily Vermeule, John Vigorita. I fear that I may have missed the names of some, and, even worse, that some of those not missed may be aghast at parts or all of my final presentation. In advance, I offer my apologies. I also thank Jill Orner for her expert preparation of my manuscript.

Lastly, I thank my revered teacher John Finley for his advice and encouragement, which helped me through some difficult times that elapsed while I was finishing these studies. To him I dedicate whatever in this volume may be worthy of his ideals.

Gregory Nagy