The Iliad : a commentary / Volume 1 Books 1 4 by Richard Janko; Geoffrey Stephen Kirk

By Richard Janko; Geoffrey Stephen Kirk

This, the fourth quantity within the six-volume remark at the Iliad being ready less than the overall Editorship of Professor G. S. Kirk, covers Books 13-16, together with the conflict for the Ships, the Deception of Zeus and the loss of life of Patroklos. 3 introductory essays speak about the function of Homer's gods in his poetry; the origins and improvement of the epic diction; and the transmission of the textual content, from the bard's lips to our personal manuscripts. it truly is now widely known that the 1st masterpiece of Western literature is an oral poem; Professor Janko's certain statement goals to teach how this acceptance can make clear many linguistic and textual difficulties, entailing an intensive reassessment of the paintings of Homer's Alexandrian editors. The observation additionally explores the poet's refined creativity in adapting conventional fabrics, no matter if formulae, common scenes, mythology, or imagery, in order top to maneuver, motivate, and entertain his viewers, old and glossy alike. dialogue of the poem's literary features and constitution is, the place attainable, saved break away that of extra technical concerns

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Therefore this verse consists of two indivisible cola: an object-lesson in the complex interplay between rhythm and meaning, and the need (as some would say) to keep colometry in its place. Despite that last warning, it is clear that close attention to colometry, but always in relation to sense and syntax, can give important insights into the rhythmical structure of the individual verse and the phrasing of the individual sentence (altered, in the case of long sentences, by variations in enjambment, on which see pp.

That is confirmed by the highly-developed formular system on which so much of Homer's language and style depend. And yet it is a curious fact that a new kind of writing, based on the development of the alphabet, started to take hold in Greece either shortly before or even during Homer's own lifetime. That naturally raises the question whether Homer himself used the new writing, indeed whether the whole creation of a monumental epic in some sense depended on it. This is an important question, as any must be which concerns the manner in which these great masterpieces were composed; yet, unlike the oral techniques implicit in the Iliad, it does not have a very direct bearing on the way we experience the poem itself.

C. ( i t ) That Homer used writing to create, either in person or through a scribe to whom he dictated, the whole Iliad, for his own purposes and not for a reading public, seems unlikely for these reasons: (a) the newness of the alphabet; (b) the indications that in Homer's time it was used for simple practical purposes; (c) the evidence suggested by Hesiod, Archilochus and the Milesian Presocratics that its use for literary composition developed gradually; (d) the probably high cost and erratic availability of papyrus, the clumsiness of papyrus rolls (of which an enormous number would be needed to accommodate the whole Iliad, especially when written in a probably large majuscule script), and the implausibility of such a massive experiment in book-production in the earliest days of literacy.

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