Homeric Responses

Paperback | January 1, 2004

byGregory Nagy

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The Homeric Iliad and Odyssey are among the world's foremost epics. Yet, millennia after their composition, basic questions remain about them. Who was Homer—a real or an ideal poet? When were the poems composed—at a single point in time, or over centuries of composition and performance? And how were the poems committed to writing? These uncertainties have been known as The Homeric Question, and many scholars, including Gregory Nagy, have sought to solve it.

In Homeric Responses, Nagy presents a series of essays that further elaborate his theories regarding the oral composition and evolution of the Homeric epics. Building on his previous work in Homeric Questions and Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond and responding to some of his critics, he examines such issues as the importance of performance and the interaction between audience and poet in shaping the poetry; the role of the rhapsode (the performer of the poems) in the composition and transmission of the poetry; the "irreversible mistakes" and cross-references in the Iliad and Odyssey as evidences of artistic creativity; and the Iliadic description of the shield of Achilles as a pointer to the world outside the poem, the polis of the audience.

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The Homeric Iliad and Odyssey are among the world's foremost epics. Yet, millennia after their composition, basic questions remain about them. Who was Homer—a real or an ideal poet? When were the poems composed—at a single point in time, or over centuries of composition and performance? And how were the poems committed to writing? Thes...

Gregory Nagy has been the Director of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., since 2000, and continues to serve as the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:112 pages, 8.95 × 5.94 × 0.35 inPublished:January 1, 2004Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292705549

ISBN - 13:9780292705548

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsAcknowledgmentsPrologueIntroduction. Four QuestionsQuestion 1. About Synchronic and Diachronic PerspectivesQuestion 2. About the Evolutionary ModelQuestion 3. About Dictation ModelsQuestion 4. About Cross-References in HomerChapter 1. Homeric ResponsesChapter 2. Homeric Rhapsodes and the Concept of Diachronic SkewingChapter 3. Irreversible Mistakes and Homeric ClairvoyanceChapter 4. The Shield of Achilles: Ends of the Iliad and Beginnings of the PolisBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"More than any other classicist, Nagy tries to uncover and explain the brilliance that can come from an oral tradition. . . . This is an important contribution to the field of Homeric poetics, more narrowly, and to the study of Greek literature more broadly."