Homer and Traditional Poetics

Margalit Finkelberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although Homer refers to the art of poetry in terms closely similar to those used by oral traditional poets interviewed by Parry and Lord, his own poems do not follow the poetics of a point-by-point narrative succession that they themselves proclaim. This is not yet to say that in ancient Greece there were no epic poems for which such traditional poetics would effectively account. The poems of the Epic Cycle, whose incompatibility with the narrative strategies of the Homeric epics was highlighted as early as Aristotle, are one such example. The fact that, although he repeatedly refers to the practice of traditional poetry, Homer is silent on the matter of his own poetic practice which differs markedly from it, raises the question of whether the Iliad and the Odyssey can be considered traditional poems in the proper sense of the word.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-15
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Classics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • Aristotle's Poetics
  • Epic Cycle
  • J.A. Notopoulos
  • oral poetics
  • southslavic bards


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