As part of an initiative to make more widely available research from the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature, the CHS is pleased to announce the online publication of Aida Vidan’s Embroidered with Gold, Strung with Pearls: The Traditional Ballads of Bosnian Women. Forthcoming online from the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature series is The Medieval Icelandic Saga and Oral Tradition: A Discourse on Method, by Gisli Sigurdsson and Old Norse Mythology—Comparative Perspectives, edited by Pernille Hermann, Stephen A. Mitchell, Jens Peter Schjødt, and Amber J. Rose.
From the series foreword
This new series is dedicated to the empirical study of oral traditions in their historical contexts. The rigorous methods of investigation developed by Milman Parry and Albert Lord, as documented in Lord’s The Singer of Tales (Harvard University Press 1960; Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature 24. Second edition 2000, with Introduction [vii-xxix] by Stephen Mitchell and Gregory Nagy) serve as a model for the books included in the series.
It is fitting that Embroidered with Gold, Strung with Pearls: The Traditional Ballads of Bosnian Women, by Aida Vidan, is the first volume in this new series. Not only does the author model her methodology on that of Parry and Lord. More than that, the oral traditional songs that she studies are all taken from the original collection of Parry and Lord, housed in the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature at Harvard University’s Widener Library. The aspects of this core collection investigated by Dr. Vidan are of particular interest because the studies being studied are all women. The songs of these women reflect an oral tradition significantly different from as well as similar to the corresponding oral tradition as performed by men, which has been the focus of research. In the women’s songs, Dr. Vidan’s research has uncovered forms of expression quite distinct from those of men’s songs. By carefully analyzing the laments and love songs that she finds in these women’s singing, Aida Vidan has made a most significant contribution to ongoing research centering on the study of genres in oral traditional poetry.
– Stephen Mitchell and Gregory Nagy
Curators, Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature
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