The Center for Hellenic Studies is pleased to announce that The Singer of Tales by Albert B. Lord is now available online, for free, in an electronic form, on the newly redesigned CHS website.
Albert Lord’s book builds on Milman Parry’s work in his search of the oral traditions in the Yugoslavia of 1933–35. Parry began recording and studying a live tradition of oral narrative poetry to further understand how Homeric poetry had been composed at the start of Europe’s literary tradition. Parry’s, and with him Lord’s, work demonstrates the process by which oral poets compose and sheds light on the multiform nature of oral traditions.
Originally published in 1960, this second edition (2000) was reissued with a new introduction by Stephen Mitchell and Gregory Nagy. Aside from the online version of The Singer of Tales, you can also order a printed copy of the book through Harvard University Press.
Members of Hour 25, an intellectual community that studies and creates open source content initiated by Gregory Nagy’s work on ancient Greek heroes, have been discussing this classic text at the site’s forum. Learn more about the projects and initiatives at Hour 25 here.
Articles Available Online Via Oral Tradition
- Albert B. Lord, “Perspectives on Recent Work on the Oral Traditional Formula” (PDF)
- Albert B. Lord, “Characteristics of Orality” (PDF)
Albert Lord and His Legacy
- Casey Dué, “Performance and Performer: The Role of Tradition in Oral Epic Song” (via the Milman Parry Collection, featuring video clips of Albert Lord)
- John Miles Foley, “Albert Lord and the Study of Oral Tradition” (via ISSOT, video of 2011 presentation)
CHS Scholars and Scholarship Influenced by Lord
- Graeme Bird, Multitextuality in the Homeric Iliad: The Witness of Ptolemaic Papyri (print, via HUP)
- Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott, Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush: A Multitext Edition with Essays and Commentary (online)
- Douglas Frame, Hippota Nestor (available online)
- Leonard Muellner, “Discovery Procedures and Principles for Homeric Research” (available online)
- Richard Martin, The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad (available online)
- Gregory Nagy, Homeric Questions (available online)
The Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature
Under the curatorship of Albert Lord, the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature (MPCOL), became a uniquely comprehensive archive of South Slavic and Albanian oral traditions, with important holdings representing many other traditions from around the world. The Collection’s core materials are the field recordings and dictated texts collected by Milman Parry (in part with the assistance of Albert Lord) in 1933-35, the Albanian epics collected by Albert Lord in 1937, and the field recordings made by Lord in subsequent years. Several hundred of the recordings and texts collected by Parry and by Lord are now available on-line. The Collection is currently housed in Harvard’s Widener Library under the direction of Stephen Mitchell, Gregory Nagy, and David Elmer.
We encourage you to explore the many resources on the MPCOL website, such as Albert B. Lord Songs On-Line and videos of presentations given at the 2010 symposium, “Singers and Tales in the 21st Century: The Legacies of Milman Parry and Albert Lord”.
Homer Multitext Project
The Homer Multitext project, the first of its kind in Homeric studies, presents the textual transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey in a historical framework. It offers free access to a library of texts and images, a machine-interface to that library and its indices, and tools to allow readers to discover and engage with the Homeric tradition. To view the texts use the Manuscript Browser. (We suggest using Firefox or Safari, both freely available.)
According to HMT Co-Editor Casey Dué, Albert Lord’s work has influenced the methodology of the HMT project more than any other. Dué has previously written on the “paradigm shifts” brought about by Lord and Parry.
Image: photo and caption by Albert Lord, courtesy of MPCOL.
Find more images from Lord’s photo album here.