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The Homeric Simile in Comparative Perspectives: Oral Traditions from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia

Monday, November 5, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Evangeline Mee
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Jonathan L. Ready's most recent work investigates both the construction of the Homeric simile and the performance of Homeric poetry from neglected comparative perspectives, offering a revealing exploration of what made the epics such powerful examples of verbal artistry. Divided into two parts, the volume first considers similes in five modern oral poetries-Rajasthani epic, South Sumatran epic, Kyrgyz epic, Bosniac epic, and Najdi lyric poems from Saudi Arabia-and studies successful performances by still other verbal artists, such as Egyptian singers of epic, Turkish minstrels, and Chinese storytellers. In applying these findings to the Homeric epics, the second part presents a new take on how the Homeric poets put together their similes and alters our understanding of how the poets displayed their competence as performers of verbal art and interacted with their poetic peers and predecessors. Engaging intensively with a diverse array of scholarship from outside the field of classical studies, from folkloristics to cognitive linguistics, this truly interdisciplinary volume transforms how we view not only a central feature of Homeric poetry but also the very nature of Homeric performance.


  • examines oral traditional works from around the world, introducing a wealth of often neglected comparanda for the Homeric epics and revivifying a comparative approach to Homeric poetry
  • builds on research from outside classical studies to approach a central feature of Homeric poetry from a truly interdisciplinary perspective
  • includes English translations of all foreign and ancient languages, ensuring accessibility to readers regardless of language familiarity

For more information, visit the book's press page on Oxford University Press's website. 


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