Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil: With a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems

By Charles Rowan Beye | Go to book overview

3
Poetic Technique

Mother of mine, why do you object to our trusty singer
giving delight in whatever way his mind inspires him?
The poets are not responsible for their subject matter
but Zeus is, who gives to each man what he will.
So don't blame this man for singing the Achaeans' sad fate.
For men are much more going to praise whichever song
comes newest to their ears.

Odyssey 1.346–52

As the reader may now understand, who or how many persons composed the Homeric poems, and how and why, remain utterly elusive questions. The persistent mystery profoundly affects what critics say about the technique of the poetry. What seems a subtle authorial gesture to one is identified as a commonplace mechanical necessity by another. Those who initially solidified and refined the theory of the oral nature of the two poems insisted upon the fact that the Homeric poet must have been illiterate. Their field work with South Slavic oral poetry confirmed them in this view. Jugoslav oral bards were not only illiterate, but when becoming literate—more specifically when they accepted the concept of a fixed text—they seemed to lose the skill and the technique for oral poetry. The consequence for Homer was that there prevailed a theory of composition which envisioned generations of oral poets who kept the meter, the diction, the stereotyped characters and typical scenes and commonplace story patterns as so many components in their brains which they brought together extempore, yet studied in some way and certainly recollected from previous practice and rehearsal, to make poems on the order of the two that survive.

-74-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil: With a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the Second Edition vii
  • 1: Oral Poetry 1
  • 2: The Poet's World 43
  • 3: Poetic Technique 74
  • 4: The Iliad 113
  • 5: The Odyssey 144
  • 6: The Argonautica 187
  • 7: The Aeneid 219
  • Further Reading 257
  • 8: Gilgamesh 279
  • Further Reading Revisited 303
  • Index 311
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 318

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.