Homer

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“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.

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

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