| 1 Comment

“Virgil, Dante, Milton had their predecessors. They belong in a literary tradition, not narrowly epic, but general. They have genius, but it is not unaided, not unique, not isolated…

But the Iliad and Odyssey - and we must add Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days - have no ancestry, no tradition.” - (p. 19) Havelock, The Muse Learns to Write

They stood at the beginning of what would become a tradition. They had no standards to follow. They were the first story tellers, but their stories were oral.

“We do know that the poems bear the hallmarks of orally composed poetry…” - (p. 192) Homer, Writing Materials

When they were written down, they were no longer the first. Others had come before them. They lost their uniqueness.

1 Comment

I'm not sure I agree with Havelock's argument that Homer had no tradition to employ in his works. I can't help but imagine that even before Homer's epic tales there must have been stories to draw from, even if they were not recognized as stories at the time.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by published on February 4, 2008 11:58 AM.

Havelock (19-62) was the previous entry in this blog.

Sundiata is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.