Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

Abbreviations

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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p. viii

I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all who have given me advice about various parts of this book, especially to Egbert Bakker, Graeme Bird, Timothy Boyd, Jonathan Burgess, Miriam Carlisle, Erwin Cook, Olga Davidson, Stamatia Dova, Casey Du

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Prologue

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pp. ix-xii

Homeric Responses builds on two earlier books, Homeric Questions (1996) and Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond (1996), which dealt with respectively earlier and later phases in the evolution of Homeric poetry. By Homeric poetry I mean the poetic system underlying the poetic texts that we know as the Iliad and the Odyssey. “Homer” is used throughout this book as a cover term...

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Introduction: Four Questions

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pp. 1-19

The terms “synchronic” and “diachronic” stem from a distinction established by a pioneer in the field of linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure.1 For Saussure, synchrony and diachrony designate respectively a current state of a language and a phase in its evolution.2 I draw attention to Saussure’s linking of “diachrony” and “evolution,” a link that proves to be crucial for understanding...

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Chapter 1: Homeric Responses

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pp. 21-38

In Odyssey 8.72– 83, the first song of Demodokos, we see a link between the oracular clairvoyance of Apollo and the poetic composition of Homer. Such a link, where the god’s prophecy is equated with the plot of the poet’s narrative, is relevant to the word “responses” in my title, which is meant to capture the meaning of the ancient Greek word...

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Chapter 2: Homeric Rhapsodes and the Concept of Diachronic Skewing

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pp. 39-48

Throughout this book, I maintain that the traditions of rhapsodic performance are essential for understanding the evolution of Homeric composition. Such an understanding, however, is impeded by various assumptions about rhapsodes as performers of Homer. Here I challenge some of those assumptions by reexamining the very concept of the...

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Chapter 3: Irreversible Mistakes and Homeric Clairvoyance

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pp. 49-71

In “oral poetry,” mistakes can and do happen in the process of composition-in- performance. Such mistakes, including major mistakes in narration, are documented in the fieldwork of Milman Parry and Albert Lord on South Slavic oral poetic traditions.1 For a striking example, we may turn to Lord’s account, in The Singer of Tales, of a singer who made the same mistake in plot...

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Chapter 4: The Shield of Achilles: Ends of the Iliad and Beginnings of the Polis

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pp. 72-87

Homer critics have begun to interpret the resolution of the Iliad in Book 24, at the end of the epic, as a reflection of a new spirit that emerges from the heroic tradition and culminates in the ethos of the city-state or polis.1 A sign of this ethos is the moment when Achilles, following his mother’s instructions to accept compensation in the form of apoina ‘ransom’ offered by Priam...

Bibliography

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pp. 89-96

Index

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pp. 97-100