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Homer in the Twentieth CenturyBetween World Literature and the Western Canon$
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Barbara Graziosi and Emily Greenwood

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199298266

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199298266.001.0001

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Homer after Parry: Tradition, Reception, and the Timeless text

Homer after Parry: Tradition, Reception, and the Timeless text

(p.27) 1 Homer after Parry: Tradition, Reception, and the Timeless text
Homer in the Twentieth Century

Johannes Haubold

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers Milman Parry's contribution to Homeric scholarship and uses this to investigate shifts in conceptions of epic and its place in the Western literary tradition in the 20th century. It points to unresolved tensions in approaches to Homer in the 20th century, with scholars and other receivers of Homer equivocating between the idea that Homeric epic belonged to the world of traditional, oral-derived poetry, and the view that Homer is the starting point of a linear history of Western literature. It suggests that notions of tradition and reception need to be investigated in relation to one another. Recent scholarship on oral traditions now accommodates many phenomena that Parry associated exclusively with the great authors of the Western literary canon, such as Apollonius and Virgil, so the relationship between oral traditions and the canon needs to be revised. Meanwhile creative receptions of Homer have found ways of embracing the traditional Homer and the canonical Homer at the same time.

Keywords:   Homer, Milman Parry, Albert Lord, orality, reception, classical tradition, oral epic, literary epic

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