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Home > Catalog > Poetry as Performance
Poetry as Performance


  • Page extent: 271 pages
  • Size: 216 x 138 mm
  • Weight: 0.438 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 883/.01
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: PA4037 .N35 1996
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Homer--Criticism, Textual
    • Epic poetry, Greek--History and criticism--Theory, etc
    • Epic poetry, Greek--Criticism, Textual
    • Oral interpretation of poetry--History--To 1500
    • Performing arts--Greece--History--To 1500

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521551359 | ISBN-10: 0521551358)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published January 1996

Replaced by 9780521558488


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 re-creative process of composition-in-performance. It addresses questions of authority and authorship in the making of oral poetry, and it examines the efforts of ancient scholars to edit a definitive text of the "real" Homer.


Introduction: a brief survey of concepts and aims; Part I. Mimesis and the Making of Identity in Poetic Performance: 1. The Homeric nightingale and the poetics of variation in the art of a troubadour; 2. Mimesis, models of singers, and the meaning of a Homeric epithet; 3. Mimesis in Homer and beyond; 4. Mimesis in lyric: Sappho's Aphrodite and the Changing Woman of the Apache; Part II. Fixed Text in Theory, Shifting Words in Performance: 5. Multiform epic and Aristarchus' quest for the real Homer; 6. Homer as script; 7. Homer as 'scripture'; Epilogue: dead poets and recomposed performers; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.


"In this technical yet clear book, Nagy explores how the Homeric poems, stemming from an oral tradition that can be traced to the middle of the second millenium BCE, became the written texts of today....Rich in detail, knowledge and scope, Nagy's book (the culmination of years of work) offers a lucid, well-argued approach to these problems. It will interest not only specialists in ancient Greek poetry, but anyone concerned with oral traditions." P. Nieto, Choice

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