Toward an Ethnopoetically Grounded Edition of Homer’s Odyssey


How would a folklorist, if miraculously transported to an eighth-century BCE social gathering in Ionia where Homer was performing a version of the Odyssey, transcribe that oral performance into a textual form? What would such a transcription and textualization look like? Simply imagining this utterly fanciful exercise forces us to raise otherwise seldom asked questions about the social setting of the performance, the demeanor and involvement of the audience, the length of the performance units, the nature of the singing, the contribution of musical instrumentation, and the function of non-verbal cues by the bard.

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