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Marginality, Canonicity, Passion$
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Marco Formisano and Christina Shuttleworth Kraus

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198818489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198818489.001.0001

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Homer in the Gutter

Homer in the Gutter

From Samuel Butler to the Second Sophistic and Back Again

Chapter:
(p.231) 9 Homer in the Gutter
Source:
Marginality, Canonicity, Passion
Author(s):

James I. Porter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198818489.003.0009

In antiquity Homer may have been the most revered of poets, and the foundation of all literary criticism and philology; but he was also the most maligned and interfered with of ancient poets. He spawned entire traditions of literary critique, parody, subversion, and revision that kept his image alive down through the centuries and well into modernity. Homer lived on, in other words, both in the gutter and at the top tier of the literary and cultural canons of the West. Examples from Heraclitus to d’Aubignac will lay out the case for this puzzling bipolar reception, which throws a troubling light on what it means to be a canonical poet of the western world. Two case studies will then reinforce the consistency of these patterns of reception over the course of the tradition: Dio’s ‘Trojan Oration’ (Discourse 11) and Butler’s Authoress of the Odyssey.

Keywords:   The Contest of Homer and Hesiod, Dio Chrysostom, ‘Trojan Oration’, fictionality, Homeric revisionism, Homeric scholarship, literary parody, Lives of Homer, lying, Samuel Butler

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