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Comparative Perspectives on the Composition of the Homeric Simile

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Chapter Summary

This chapter lays out some questions we can ask of and a few things we can learn about the similes in a textualized oral poem when, critically, the following obtains: that poem is but one in a much larger corpus made up of poems that the collector has gathered from a number of poets in a given area over a limited period of time. It then focuses on two corpora: that from the former Yugoslavia contains poems composed by the performers themselves; that from Saudi Arabia contains both poems composed by the performers themselves and poems composed by other (often earlier) poets, which informants recite from memory. Finally the chapter engages in a thought experiment: what happens if, treating the Homeric poems as we treat a poem that is surrounded by numerous peers.

Keywords:Homer; Homeric Simile; Saudi Arabia; Yugoslavia



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