Homer and His Peers: Neoanalysis, Oral Theory, and the Status of Homer

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Abstract

Both leading trends in contemporary Homeric scholarship, Neoanalysis and Oral Theory, recognize today that the Iliad and the Odyssey frequently evoke episodes whose proper place is in the poems of the Epic Cycle. Yet, while in the Neoanalysts' eyes the intertextual relations between Homer and the Cycle mean that Homer enjoyed a special status which was due to the fact that his poems were composed with the help of writing, from the standpoint of oral formulaic theory Homer and the Cycle should nevertheless be placed on the same plane as independent variants of a common tradition. The article's main argument is that, contrary to the oralists' opinion, the position of the Homeric poems in Greek epic tradition was indeed unique. Contrary to the Neoanalysts' opinion, it is of little relevance whether it was in oral or in written form that they attained this position.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Classics
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Epic Cycle
  • Heroic Age
  • Homer
  • Neonalysis
  • Oral-formulaic theory

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