Applying linguistic theory to the study of Homeric style, Egbert J. Bakker offers a highly innovative approach to oral poetry, particularly the poetry of Homer. By situating formulas and other features of oral style within the wider contexts of spoken language and communication, he moves the study of oral poetry beyond the landmark work of Milman Parry and Albert Lord. One of the book's central features, related to the research of the linguist Wallace Chafe, is Bakker's conception of spoken discourse as a sequence of short speech units reflecting the flow of speech through the consciousness of the speaker. Bakker shows that such short speech units are present in Homeric poetry, with significant consequences for Homeric metrics and poetics. Considering Homeric discourse as a speech process - rather than as the finished product associated with written discourse - Bakker's book offers a new perspective on Homer as well as on other archaic Greek texts.
Cornell University Press,
Myth and poetics.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 211-226) and indexes.