epic poetry

Comparative Studies in Greek and Indic Meter

Reversing the generally accepted notions about formula and meter in epic poetry, Gregory Nagy seeks to show that meter is an outgrowth of formula. To make his point he links the Parry-Lord techniques of formulaic analysis with the researches of Meillet, Jakobson, and Watkins on Indo-European metrics. In the process he evolves… Read more

The Anger of Achilles: Mênis in Greek Epic

Leonard Muellner’s goal is to restore the Greek word for the anger of Achilles, menis, to its social, mythical, and poetic contexts. His point of departure is the anthropology of emotions. He believes that notions of anger vary between cultures and that the particular meaning of a word such as… Read more

Epic Singers and Oral Tradition

Albert Bates Lord here offers an unparalleled overview of the nature of oral-traditional epic songs and the practices of the singers who composed them. Shaped by the conviction that theory should be based on what singers actually do, and have done in times past, the essays collected here span half… Read more

The Singer of Tales

This 40th anniversary edition of Albert Lord’s classic work includes a unique enhancement: the original audio recordings of all the passages of heroic songs quoted in the book; a video publication of the kinescopic filming of the most valued of the singers; and selected photographs taken during Milman Parry’s collecting… Read more

The Myth of Return in Early Greek Epic

“The main argument of this book is that the connection suggested by Homer between the ‘wiles’ and the ‘wanderings’ of Odysseus in fact rested upon an earlier tradition both significant and deep. The origin of this tradition has to do with the etymology of the Greek word nóos, ‘mind’, which… Read more

Nagy, Gregory. Homeric Questions

The “Homeric Question” has vexed Classicists for generations. Was the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey a single individual who created the poems at a particular moment in history? Or does the name “Homer” hide the shaping influence of the epic tradition during a long period of oral composition and transmission? In this… Read more

Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond

This book is a comparative study of oral poetics in literate cultures, focusing on the problems of textual fluidity in the transmission of Homeric poetry over half a millennium, from the Archaic through the Hellenistic periods of ancient Greece. It stresses the role of performance and the performer in the… Read more