A question of “reception”: how could Homer ever outlive his own moments of performance?

2021.08.30, rewritten 2024.05.22 | By Gregory Nagy

This pre-edited standalone essay, rewritten for online publication in Classical Continuum, originally appeared in Classical Inquiries 2021.08.30. My rewritten version here supersedes the original version, partly because my online contributions to Classical Inquiries, extending from 2015.02.14 to 2021.10.13, are currently not being curated by the Center for Hellenic Studies. The present version is meant for presentation at a conference titled “The Poet of the Greeks: The Genesis and Reception of Homer in Archaic and Classical Greece,” University of Basel, 05-07 June 2024, organized by Anton Bierl (Basel), Alexandra Trachsel (Hamburg), Lars Hübner (Hamburg), Johannes Bernhardt (Konstanz).

§0. In the featured image for this essay, a painter is picturing Homer at a moment of performance. Or, I could even say that we see Homer here in—not just at—a moment of performance. Homer sings, accompanying himself on his lyre. Viewing him and listening to him most attentively, in the imagination of our painter, are poets from Homer’s future “reception.” Most visible is old Dante himself, and, further away, we can spot a middle-aged Shakespeare, and, off to the side, a youngish Goethe is looking on. But these three canonical poets, representing the “reception” of Homer in future times far removed from the Homeric past, are not reading Homer here. No, they are pictured as actually hearing and even seeing that poet in a very special moment: they are witnessing Homer in the very act of his creating his own poetry. And that is actually how the ancient Greeks, in earlier periods of their prehistory and history, imagined Homer’s very own moments of poetic creation. In such earlier periods, Homer’s poetry-in-the-making was not a written text that was meant to be read. No, his poetry was an oral performance that was meant to be heard—and seen as well. In other words, the very idea of Homer in earlier periods of the ancient Greek world was linked to Homer’s oral performance, which was imagined as a composition-in-performance. But how could such a Homeric performance, as imagined in the ancient Greek world, outlive the life and times of a prototypical Homer? Or, to ask the question in a more fanciful way, how could Homer ever outlive his own moments of performance?

Bela Čikoš Sesija (1864–1931), Homer uči Dantea, Shakespearea i Goethea pjevat (Homer Teaches Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe to sing), 1909. In the Croatian Institute of History, Zagreb. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

§1. Before I attempt to answer such a question, I must emphasize that the “reception” of Homer, grounded in the realities of ancient Greek history, was different from what is usually also called the “reception” of Homer in later times, when the poetry of Homer was no longer heard in oral performance. Contradicting the fantasy pictured by our painter, where canonical poets who lived in far later times could still get a chance to hear and to see an exquisite moment of composition-in-performance by Homer himself, the grim reality of Homeric “reception” in the poetic worlds of a Dante or a Shakespeare or a Goethe was a simple historical fact: the oral tradition of Homeric poetry was dead, and had been dead for a long time. In fact, Homeric oral poetry was already dying in the later periods of ancient Greek history. And, for the longest time by now, Homeric poetry has survived only as a written text to be read by its readers—sometimes in the original or, in most cases, in translations or in paraphrases. And here I return to my fanciful question: how, then, could Homer ever outlive his moments of in-person performance?

§2. Such a question, as I just posed it, can best be answered, I suggest, if we rethink the term “reception,” which I have so far been treating with indifference, isolating it within quotation-marks. As I have already suggested, however, a distinction needs to be made. For me, there are two different kinds of reception, and I will focus on the earlier kind. The later kind is all too familiar, corresponding to the use of the term reception in conventional literary criticism today, where it refers to the responses of readers to the written text of a given literary production. But here I introduce a different and defamiliarizing use of the term, focusing on an earlier kind of reception, referring to a “literary” production that is oral. In any given oral tradition of verbal art, the reception of this tradition by its audience—or, to say it better, by the society in which the oral tradition was generated—is not just incidental. It is essential. The reception of a textual tradition, if it gets neglected over time or even if it dies altogether, can still be brought back to life—however imperfectly—if any texts have survived. By contrast, death for the reception of an oral tradition signals death for such a tradition. An oral tradition cannot survive without reception. Even if some transcript of oral traditional performance survives, such a text cannot, of and by itself, bring back to life the structural realities of the oral tradition, and any new reception of such a text could now become simply a textual reception, even if the text imitates an oral performance or, better, serves as a script for such a would-be oral performance.

§3. With this distinction between oral and textual reception in place, I am ready to restate more clearly, I hope, an obvious historical fact: the oral reception of Homeric poetry is dead, and it died a very long time ago. But how long ago? It is difficult to give a precise answer, since only the textual reception survives, and it is only by studying the history of that reception that we have any hope of reconstructing, at least in broad outlines, the history—or, better, prehistory—of an earlier oral reception. About the point I just made… I go out of my way here, with reference to my use of the term “prehistory,” to praise one of the organizers of the conference where I present this paper. He is Lars Hübner, whom I very much admire for his methodological thoroughness in considering, from a historicist’s point of view, the prehistory as well as the history of Homeric reception. I cite especially two most relevant works of his (Hübner 2019 and 2022), where he analyzes a stretch of time that extends from oral to textual phases in the reception of Homeric poetry. In what follows, it will be clear that I mostly agree with his interpretations, which I value even in moments of possible disagreement. 

§4. That said, I proceed with my own attempt at interpreting both the prehistory and the history of Homeric reception. I start by citing a set of twin books I have produced on the subject of Homeric poetry, Homer the Classic (2009|2008) and Homer the Preclassic (2010|2009). In these two books, I have attempted to reconstruct the overall reception of this poetry, going backward in time, and thus showing that the relatively later phases of Homeric reception became merely textual, while the earlier phases were still oral.

§5. In two earlier twin books on the same subject of Homeric poetry, Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond (1996a) and Homeric Questions (1996b), I had attempted a different kind of reconstruction, going forward as well as backward in time. This kind of two-way reconstructing was an exercise in describing the periodizations of Homeric poetry by way of applying modes of diachronic as well as synchronic analysis. When I say “synchronic” and “diachronic” here, I am following the terminology of Ferdinand de Saussure (1916:117), and I draw special attention to the fact that, for Saussure, “diachronic” was synonymous with “evolutionary.” I should add here my view (argued at length in another essay (Nagy 2011a §§13-16), that the word “diachronic” should not be used as a synonym of the word “historical.” I offer here merely a brief epitome of this view:

It is a mistake to equate diachronic with historical, as is often done. Diachrony refers to the potential for evolution in a structure, whereas history is not restricted to phenomena that are structurally predictable. We can build synchronic models to describe and explain the workings of a structure as we see it attested in a given historical context. We can likewise build diachronic models to describe and explain how that given structure may have evolved from one of its phases into other phases. What we have built, however, is a set of models to be tested on historical realities. The models are not the same thing as the realities themselves. And the realities of history as a process are not dependent on such models. History may either confirm or upset any or all aspects of our models, since the contingencies of history do not need to follow the rules of existing structures.

§6. Accordingly, in my two earlier twin-books, I referred to my reconstruction of Homeric periodizations as an “evolutionary model” for explaining the textual destiny of Homeric poetry. As I look back on this model as outlined in Poetry as Performance (1996a:110) and in Homeric Questions (1996b:42), I now see that some clarification is needed with regard to my thinking about what I call “period 3,” a time-frame that extends, by my reckoning, from the middle of the sixth century BCE to the later part of the fourth. In my overall reconstruction, covering five “periods” in the evolution of Homeric poetry, I view this “period 3” as transitional—to the extent that my model allows for the possibility that scribes within this time-frame could and perhaps did make copies or “transcripts” of Homeric poetry. But I emphasized, in this context, that the existence of such “transcripts” would not have killed the oral reception of this poetry.

§7. And here is where I need to make a more specific clarification, since my use of this word “transcript” in this context has been criticized as inconsistent. The criticism is made in a book by Jonathan Ready (2019), with whose work on Homeric poetry I generally agree. But here I must engage in some friendly disagreement concerning his relevant criticism (especially at his p. 178). Although I state, at one point (Homeric Questions p. 65), that a transcript could be used “to record any given composition and to control the circumstances of any given performance,” this statement does not contradict a more general statement I make at a later point (Homeric Questions p. 67), where I speak not about a transcript used as a “control” but simply as “an aid to performance.” I see no inconsistency here, since my point all along (starting at Homeric Questions p. 65) was that a transcript could potentially be used as an aid to performance—but not necessarily so. As for the “aid,” it could take the form of actual “control” over content, but that kind of “aid” would be an extreme case, and I left room for an opposite extreme, that is, in cases where a transcript, even if it exists, is not used at all as any kind of “aid” for performance. Accordingly, I also see no inconsistency in another relevant statement I made in another publication (Nagy 2014:100), where I say that my use of the term transcript “makes it clear that a transcript has no influence on performance.” If this statement (as quoted by Ready p. 178) is taken out of context, then, yes, I would have to restate by saying “a transcript does not necessarily have any influence on performance,” but this same statement, if it were to be read in context, would make such a restatement unnecessary. When I was saying that a transcript, of and by itself, has “no influence” on performance, I was responding to a mis-statement of my views in the work of another Homerist, Minna Skafte Jensen (2011:217), with whom I otherwise also generally agree. In this case, I disagree with her claim that “Nagy’s hypothesis attributes to the written transmission features that are characteristic of oral composition and transmission.” Contesting this mis-statement, I went on to say (Nagy 2014:100): “In fact, my point is just the opposite: period 3 is a time of oral transmission, not written transmission, and that is why I use the word transcript with reference to any possibility of existing texts.” In the same context, Jensen (2011:217) refers to “the dogma concerning the interaction between the two media [that is, the medium of oral performance and the medium of writing a text].” I quote again from my response (Nagy 2014:100): “But I posit no such ‘interaction’, and that is the point of my using the term ‘transcript’.” Also, just as a “transcript” in period 3 does not necessarily influence the oral reception, the same can be said even about a “script,” in the later “period 4,” which I dated as extending from the later part of the fourth century BCE to the middle of the second. Even a “script,” though it could potentially exert more control over a given performance, would not necessarily interfere with the oral reception of Homeric poetry—at least, not in the long run.

§8. In terms of my evolutionary model of Homeric poetry, then, oral reception cannot be equated with textual reception. This model, however, is not all that far removed from a theory developed by researchers who share my interest in studying oral traditions by combining the disciplines of linguistics and anthropology. The theory can be summarized this way: oral performance can become an “oral text.” The very idea of such an “oral text”—which, to my mind at least, is simply a metaphor—is perhaps best expressed in the cross-cultural formulation of Karin Barber (2007:1–2), who describes such an “oral text” as an oral performance that is “woven together in order to attract attention and outlast the moment.”  The theory of such an “oral text,” which Barber (again, pp. 1–2) describes as a process of “entextualization” (as an example of other such formulations, I cite Bauman and Briggs 1990:73), has been re-applied in a lengthy book by Jonathan Ready (2019), already mentioned, on Homeric “orality” and “textuality.” In this work of Ready, I highlight one particular formulation of his (p. 18): “So performers make an oral text: they impart textuality, the attributes of an utterance capable of outliving the moment, to a verbal act.” This formulation comes close to what I think is happening in Homeric reception: such reception, to borrow the wording of Ready who in turn borrows from Barber, is “capable of outliving the moment.”  

§9. Such a mentality of “outliving the moment” in Homeric performance is encoded, I think, in the mythological framework of traditional narratives that I have described in earlier work as “Life of Homer” narratives. In surviving texts of such “Livcs” of Homer, Homeric poetry as oral performance is alive because Homer, the performer, is still alive—that is, he is still an active performer in terms of the narrative. But how does such performance stay alive after Homer’s poetry is no longer performed by Homer? The answer, I think, is to be found in what the “Lives” actually narrate about Homer’s moments of performance.

§10. In a detailed essay where I sum up my overall work on the “Lives” of Homer (Nagy 2015.12.18), I offer a formula that can help explain why the genre of these “Lives” can keep Homer himself “alive” as the ultimate master of oral performance, just as the Provençal genre of the vida, as I showed in another essay (Nagy 2021.08.23), can keep alive memories of the life and times of a generic troubadour. In what follows, I epitomize from the first of the two essays I just cited, while leaving out the details that I have collected there.

§10.1. In that essay, I analyze the surviving texts of “Life of Homer” narrative traditions, to which I will refer hereafter simply as Lives of Homer.

[I offer the following system for referring to these Lives, as printed by Allen 1912:

V1        = Vita Herodotea, pp. 192–218
V2        = Certamen, pp. 225–238
V3a      = Plutarchean Vita, pp. 238–244
V3b      = Plutarchean Vita, pp. 244–245
V4        = Vita quarta, pp. 245–246
V5        = Vita quinta, pp. 247–250
V6        = Vita sexta (the ‘Roman Life’), pp. 250–253
V7        = Vita septima, by way of Eustathius, pp. 253–254
V8        = Vita by way of Tzetzes, pp. 254–255
V9        = Vita by way of Eustathius (Iliad IV 17), p. 255
V10      = Vita by way of the Suda, pp. 256–268
V11      = Vita by way of Proclus, pp. 99–102]

These Lives, I argue, can be read as sources of historical information about the reception of Homeric poetry. The information is varied and layered, requiring diachronic as well as synchronic analysis. As before, my use of these terms follows the formulation of Saussure (1916:117). In this context, I must also emphasize again my view that “diachronic” analysis is not the same thing as “historical” analysis.

§10.2. The Lives portray the reception of Homeric poetry by narrating a series of events featuring “live” performances by Homer himself. In the narratives of the Lives, Homeric composition is consistently being situated in contexts of oral performance. In effect, the Lives explore the shaping power of positive and even negative responses by the audiences of Homeric poetry in ad hoc situations of oral performance.

§10.3. The narrative strategy of each of the Lives can be described as a staging of Homer’s reception. This staging takes the form of narrating a wide variety of occasions for Homeric performance. In my detailed survey, I note with particular interest the varied occasions of performance, ranging from small-scale micro-events such as localized gatherings at leskhai or ‘men’s clubs’ all the way to such large-scale macro-events as the centripetal assembling of diverse populations at seasonally recurring festivals.

§10.4. The Lives of Homer, especially as represented by the Herodotean Vita (= ‘V1’) and by the Certamen (‘The Contest of Homer and Hesiod’ = ‘V2’), are narratives that have much to say about performances by Homer at occasional events, but I am particularly interested in references to seasonally recurrent events, as exemplified especially by festivals that become so large-scale as to be aspirationally “pan-Hellenic.” In my research, I link such pan-Hellenism with the prestige of performing Homeric poetry. To appreciate more fully such prestige, I concentrate on the testimony of the Lives concerning the reception of Homer in two geographical areas: (1) the Aeolic and Ionic cities of Asia Minor together with major outlying islands, and (2) the island of Delos, retrospectively figured as the notional center of the future Athenian Empire.

§10.5. The reception of Homer in these two geographical areas has to be understood in the context of the seasonally recurring festivals where Homeric poetry was performed. Here I introduce the term “aetiology” as a way of backing up the point I have just made about pan-Hellenic festivals as a most prestigious occasion of Homeric performance. By “aetiology,” I mean a myth that directly motivates a ritual (Nagy 1999:279). And two most relevant examples of ritual in this case are (1) the very idea of a festival and (2) the more basic idea of a sacrifice. Both ideas, sacrifice and festival, are conveyed by the Greek word thusiā, which means not only ‘sacrifice’ but also, metonymically, ‘festival’. The second meaning is clearly attested in Plato’s Timaeus (26e), where thusiā actually refers to a pan-Hellenic festival: in this case, the referent is none other than the premier festival of Athens, the Panathenaia (Nagy 2002:83, online 2021.10.01). In the days of Plato, it was on this occasion, the Feast of the Panathenaia, that the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey were formally performed in Athens (Nagy 2002:9–22). I signal from the start the relevance of the Panathenaia and, more generally, of the word thusiā, to my overall argument.

§10.6. I argue that the Lives of Homer functioned as aetiologies for festive occasions where Homeric poetry was seasonally performed and that they must be viewed as myths, not historical facts, about Homer. To say that we are dealing with myths, however, is not at all to say that there is no history to be learned from the Lives. Even though the various Homers of various Lives are evidently mythical constructs, the actual constructing of myths about Homer can be seen as historical  fact (Nagy 1999:ix paragraph 7, with note). The claims made about Homer in the Lives can be analyzed as evidence for the various different ways in which Homeric poetry was appropriated by various different cultural and political centers throughout the ancient Greek-speaking world.

§10.7. Here I need to highlight again my main point about the Lives: all the claims about Homer, in all their varieties, specifically picture Homeric poetry as a medium of oral performance, featuring Homer himself as the master performer.

§10.8. For analyzing diachronically as well as synchronically the reception of Homer as reflected in the Lives, I propose to build a model for the periodization of this reception. Such a model needs to account for the accretive layering of narrative traditions contained within the final textual versions of these Lives. I posit three periods of ongoing reception: pre-Panathenaic, Panathenaic, and post-Panathenaic. By ‘post-Panathenaic’, I mean a period of Homeric reception marked by the usage of graphein ‘write’ in referring to Homer as an author. This usage needs to be distinguished from the usage of the Panathenaic and pre-Panathenaic periods, when Homer is said to poieîn ‘make’ whatever he composes, not to graphein ‘write’ it.

§10.9. The post-Panathenaic period is exemplified by sources like Plutarch and Pausanias, in whose writings Homer is already seen as an author who ‘writes’, graphei, whatever he composes. I cite a few examples: Plutarch De amore prolis 496d, Quaestiones convivales 668d; Pausanias 3.24.11, 8.29.2. The Panathenaic period, by contrast, is exemplified by Plato and Aristotle, in whose writings we still see Homer as an artisan who ‘makes’, poieî, and who is never pictured as one who ‘writes’, graphei. For examples of expressions involving ‘Homer’ as the subject and poieîn as the verb of that subject, I start with Aristotle De anima 404a, Nicomachean Ethics 3.1116a and 7.1145a, De generatione animalium 785a, Poetics 1448a, Politics 3.1278a and 8.1338a, Rhetoric 1.1370b. I cite also Plato Phaedo 94d, Hippias Minor 371a, Republic 2.378d, Ion 531c–d. I note with special interest the usage, here in the Ion and elsewhere, of poiēsis as the inner object of poieîn. Of related interest are collocations of poieîn with generic ho poiētēs ‘the maker’ (= the Poet) as subject, referring by default to Homer: the many examples include Plato Republic 3.392e (ὁ ποιητής φησι) and Aristotle De mundo 400a (ὥσπερ ἔφη καὶ ὁ ποιητής).

§10.10. I translate poieîn as ‘make’ in order to underline the fact that the direct object of this verb is not restricted to any particular product to be made by the subject—if the subject of the verb refers to an artisan. In other words, poieîn can convey the producing of any artifact as the product of any artisan. It is not restricted to the concept of the song / poem as artifact or of the songmaker / poet as artisan. To cite an early example: in Iliad 7.222, the artisan Tukhios epoiēsen ‘made’ the shield of Ajax. By contrast with the verb poieîn, the derivative nouns poiētēs and poiēsis are restricted, already in the earliest attestations, to the production of songs / poems. I stress the exclusion of artifacts other than songs / poems or of artisans other than songmakers / poets. The noun poiēma has likewise been restricted, though not completely; in the usage of Herodotus, for example, poiēma still designates artifacts other than song / poetry (1.25.1, 2.135.3, 4.5.3, 7.85.1). As for the compound noun formant ‑poios, it is not at all restricted to song or to poetry.

§11. This Greek word poiēma, the earlier meaning of which is ‘artifact’ and the later meaning of which is simply ‘poem’, brings me back to the description, by Karin Barber (2007:1–2), of an “oral text” as an oral performance that is “woven together in order to attract attention and outlast the moment.” Barber’s metaphor, “woven together,” reminds me of the etymology of the word “text,” the metaphorical meaning of which is a “web” that is “woven” (Latin textus)—an artifact that is ever attracting attention, ever outlasting the moment.

§12. But it is not enough to say that the idea of a woven web can be connected, by way of metaphor, with the text of Homer. It can even be said, I argue, that this same idea of a woven web is actually connected, by way of ritual practice, with the performance of Homer. The historical context for this connection was the seasonally recurring festival known as the Great Panathenaia, celebrating the birthday of Athena, goddess of Athens. At this festival, the people of Athens presented to the goddess a real web that was woven for her to wear, which was a sacred robe called the Peplos, and this presentation took place at the same festival that featured the public performances of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. What is essential about this connectivity is that there was a new Peplos that was woven for each recurrence of the Great Panathenaia, just as there was also, for each recurrence, a new performance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. In terms of its seasonal recurrence, this festival was the occasion for the reweaving of the Peplos and for the reperforming of Homeric poetry. This ritualized parallelism between reweaving the Peplos and reperforming Homeric poetry is clearly articulated in Plato’s Timaeus, as I argued in my book Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music: The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens (Nagy 2002). It is the recurrence of Homeric poetry in performance that makes it possible for this kind of oral poetry to outlast its moment, to outlive the life of Homer.

§13. The point I have just made about Homeric recurrence helps explain the overall poetics of Odyssey viii. As I have argued at length in the book Homer the Preclassic (Nagy 2011|2010), the performances of the blind singer Demodokos, especially his first and third songs, are morphological re-enactments of songs stemming from the Epic Cycle, the poetics of which are clearly divergent from the poetics of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. The overall patterns of divergence has been well demonstrated in the pathfinding work of Jonathan Burgess (2001 and 2009). And there are even further signs of divergence in the case of Demodokos. As I also argued in Homer the Preclassic, the second song of Demodokos diverges from epic models in general and converges with hymnic models as still attested in the Homeric Hymns. To go one step further, I would venture to say that even the overall occasion for the performances of Demodokos seems non-Homeric, even pre-Homeric. Or, to say it another way, the occasion seems non-Athenian, even pre-Athenian. Just as the poetry of the Epic Cycle—as also the poetry of the Homeric Hymns—occasionally reveals non-Athenian contexts for performance, so too the poetry of Demodokos seems to be distancing itself from Athenian contexts. But despite such divergences between Homeric poetry in general and the poetry of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, there is one remarkable convergence, and it is most telling. In Plato’s Timaeus, we saw that the festive occasion for Homeric performance, which is the premier festival of the Athenians, could be stylized as a thusiā, that is, as a sacrificial feast. And now we are about to see that the festive occasion for the performances of Demodokos is stylized at viii 429 as a dais, that is, again, as a feast, and the overall context of Odyssey viii shows that this feast is inaugurated by way of sacrifice. The convergence here, as I say, is most telling: in both cases, a feast is being stylized as a festival. But the difference is, feasts in Homeric narrative are presented as one-time events, whereas festivals “in real life” are seasonally recurrent events. In Odyssey viii, the description of a festival as a feast is a stylization, just as we saw in the case of the word thusiā in Plato’s Timaeus (26e): this word means ‘sacrificial feast’, but Plato uses it with reference to the overall festival of the Great Panathenaia in Athens. And I can say in general about Homeric poetry that it regularly stylizes seasonally recurrent occasions as if they were prototypical occasions, that is, single one-time occasions for the ages. For the most obvious example, I cite the athletic competitions known as “Funeral Games for Patroklos” as narrated in Iliad XXIII. Even though this athletic event is morphologically parallel to historically attested athletic events, the Homeric event is narrated as if it were a singular event for the ages, not as a recurrent event, as in the case of historically attested athletic competitions like the Olympic Games, which were of course seasonally recurrent.

§14. Another example of such athletic competitions, as I argued in a book titled The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (Nagy 2013 Hour 8), took place at the festival of the Great Panathenaia. The athletic competitions there, known as the Panathenaic Games, had rivaled in prestige even the Olympic Games. Most significantly, as I show in the same book, one of the athletic events featured at this festival was a form of chariot racing that re-enacted, most pointedly, feats of chariot warfare described in the Homeric Iliad, so that the re-performance of narratives about such chariot warfare in Homeric poetry was matched by actual re-enactment in athletic competition.

§15. To end here, I return to the formulation of Karin Barber (2007:1–2): an “oral text” is an oral performance that is “woven together in order to attract attention and outlast the moment.” What makes the “oral text” of Homeric poetry “outlast the moment” is the prestige of a seasonally recurrent festival, the Great Panathenaia of Athens, where each seasonal recurrence brings with it not only a re-weaving of the woven web of Athena but also a re-performance of Homer himself, giving him, with each recurrence, a life renewed.


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Hübner, L. 2019. Homer in cultural memory: an intentional history of archaic Homer reception. HSGKV 5. Stuttgart.

—. 2022. “Tyrannical and civic Reception of Homer: A Problem of Sources.” In Bernhardt and Canevaro 2022:330–362.

Jensen, M. S. 1980. The Homeric Question and the Oral-Formulaic Theory. Copenhagen.

—. 2011. Writing Homer: A study based on results from modern fieldwork. Copenhagen.

Lord, A. B. 1960 (/2000/2019). The Singer of Tales. Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature 24. Cambridge MA. 2nd ed. 2000, with new Introduction, by S. A. Mitchell and G. Nagy. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_LordA.The_Singer_of_Tales.2000. 3rd edition by D. F. Elmer, 2019. Hellenic Studies 77, Publications of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature 4. Cambridge, MA, and Washington, DC.

Nagy, G. 1979. The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry. Baltimore. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/nagy/BofATL/toc.html. Revised ed. with new introduction 1999, http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_NagyG.The_Best_of_the_Achaeans.1999.

—. 1990. Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past. Baltimore. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Pindars_Homer.1990.

—. 1996a. Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond. Cambridge. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Poetry_as_Performance.1996.

—. 1996b. Homeric Questions. Austin. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Homeric_Questions.1996.

—. 2002. Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music: The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens. Cambridge, MA, and Athens. For the online 3rd ed., see Nagy 2021.10.01.

—. 2004. “L’aède épique en auteur: la tradition des Vies d’Homère.” In Identités d’auteur dans l’Antiquité et la tradition européenne, ed. C. Calame and R. Chartier, 41–67. Grenoble.

—. 2009. “Hesiod and the Ancient Biographical Traditions.” The Brill Companion to Hesiod, ed. F. Montanari, A. Rengakos, and Ch. Tsagalis, 271–311. Leiden. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:Nagy.Hesiod_and_the_Ancient_Biographical_Traditions.2009.

—. 2009|2008. Printed | Online version. Homer the Classic. Hellenic Studies 36. Cambridge, MA, and Washington, DC. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Homer_the_Classic.2008.

—.2010. “Homer Multitext project.” Online Humanities Scholarship: The Shape of Things to Come, ed. J. McGann, with A. Stauffer, D. Wheeles, and M. Pickard, 87-112. Rice University Press (ceased operations in 2010). Online version of the article is available at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:Nagy.The_Homer_Multitext_Project.2010.

—. 2010|2009. Printed | Online version. Homer the Preclassic. Berkeley and Los Angeles. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Homer_the_Preclassic.2009.

—. 2011a. “Diachrony and the Case of Aesop.” Classics@9: Defense Mechanisms in Interdisciplinary Approaches to Classical Studies and Beyond. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:Nagy.Diachrony_and_the_Case_of_Aesop.2011.

—. 2011b. “The Earliest Phases in the Reception of the Homeric Hymns.” In The Homeric Hymns: Interpretative Essays, ed. A. Faulkner, 280–333. Oxford. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:Nagy.The_Earliest_Phases_in_the_Reception_of_the_Homeric_Hymns.2011.

—. 2011c. “The Aeolic Component of Homeric Diction.” Proceedings of the 22nd Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, ed. S. W. Jamison, H. C. Melchert, and B. Vine, 133–179. Bremen. New version in Classical Continuum, https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/the-aeolic-component-of-homeric-diction/. Pamphlet 3 in the series EPOPS-NAF.

—. 2013. The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours. Cambridge, MA. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_NagyG.The_Ancient_Greek_Hero_in_24_Hours.2013.

—. 2014. Review of Jensen 2011. Gnomon 86:97–101.

—. 2014b. “Homeric cross-referencing to a Cyclic tradition of performance.” In Studies on the Greek Epic Cycle, ed. G. Scafoglio. Philologia Antiqua 7 (2014) 15–31. Pisa/Roma. Rewritten as Essay II of Nagy 2021.11.22..

—.2015. “Oral traditions, written texts, and questions of authorship.” In The Greek Epic Cycle and its ancient reception: A companion, ed. M. Fantuzzi and Ch. Tsagalis, 59–77. Cambridge. https://chs.harvard.edu/curated-article/gregory-nagy-oral-traditions-written-texts-and-questions-of-authorship/. Rewritten as Essay I of Nagy 2021.11.22

—. 2015.11.27–28, rewritten 2024.05.15. With O. M. Davidson. “The rhetoric of literature in the shaping of the lives of poets.” Classical Inquiries. Rewritten in Classical Continuum. https://classical-inquiries.chs.harvard.edu/the-rhetoric-of-national-literature-in-the-shaping-of-two-different-biographies-of-poets-one-greek-and-one-persian/.

—. 2015.12.18, rewritten 2024.05.18. “Life of Homer myths as evidence for the reception of Homer.” Classical Inquiries. Rewritten in Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/life-of-homer-myths-as-evidence-for-the-reception-of-homer/.

—. 2016 | 2015. Masterpieces of Metonymy: From Ancient Greek Times to Now. Hellenic Studies 72. Cambridge, MA,and Washington, DC. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Masterpieces_of_Metonymy.2015.

—. 2016.11.03. “Some jottings on the pronouncements of the Delphic Oracle.” Classical Inquirieshttps://classical-inquiries.chs.harvard.edu/some-jottings-on-the-pronouncements-of-the-delphic-oracle/.

—. 2018.11.22, rewritten 2024.05.18. “Homeric problems and bibliographical challenges, Part 1: On the performances of rhapsodes at the festival of the Panathenaia.” Classical Inquiries. Rewritten in Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/homeric-problems-and-bibliographical-challenges-part-1-on-the-performances-of-rhapsodes-at-the-festival-of-the-panathenaia/.

—. 2018.11.30, rewritten 2024.05.19. “Homeric problems and bibliographical challenges, Part 2: More on the performances of rhapsodes at the festival of the Panathenaia.” Classical Inquiries. Rewritten in Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/homeric-problems-and-bibliographical-challenges-part-2-more-on-the-performances-of-rhapsodes-at-the-festival-of-the-panathenaia/.

—. 2021.08.23, rewritten 2024.05.20.  “Jaufré Rudel, his ‘distant love’, and the death of the distant lover in his vida.” Classical Inquiries. Rewritten in Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/jaufre-rudel-his-distant-love-and-the-death-of-the-distant-lover-in-his-vida/.

—. 2021.08.30, rewritten 2024.05.22. “A question of ‘reception’: how could Homer ever outlive his own moments of performance?” Classical Inquiries. Rewritten here in Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/a-question-of-reception-how-could-homer-ever-outlive-his-own-moments-of-performance/.

—. 2021.10.01. 3rd ed. Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music: The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens. Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/platos-rhapsody-and-homers-music-the-poetics-of-the-panathenaic-festival-in-classical-athens/.

—. 2021.10.11, rewritten 2024.05.21. With O. M. Davidson, co-author. “On the problem of envisioning Homeric composition: A co-authored essay highlighting some relevant comparative observations.” Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/on-the-problem-of-envisioning-homeric-composition-a-co-authored-essay-highlighting-some-relevant-comparative-observations/. This is a pre-print and pre-edited version. The printed version appeared in Philologia Antiqua 16 (2023) 15–25.

—. 2021.11.22. “Two essays about about the Epic Cycle. Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/two-essays-about-the-epic-cycle/.

—. 2024.05.18. See Nagy 2018.11.22.

—. 2024.05.19. See Nagy 2018.11.30.

—. 2024.05.20. See Nagy 2021.08.23.

—. 2024.05.21, See Nagy and Davidson 2021.10.11

—. 2024.05.22. “A question of ‘reception’: how could Homer ever outlive his own moments of performance?” Classical Continuum. https://continuum.fas.harvard.edu/a-question-of-reception-how-could-homer-ever-outlive-his-own-moments-of-performance/.

Pickens, R. T. 1977. “Jaufre Rudel et la poétique de la mouvance.” Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale 20:323–337.

—., ed. 1978. The Songs of Jaufré Rudel. Toronto.

—. 1978b. “La Poétique de Marie de France d’après les Prologues des Lais.” Les Lettres Romanes 32:367–384.

—. 1994. “‘Old’ Philology and the Crisis of the ‘New’.” In The Future of the Middle Ages: Medieval Literature in the 1990s, ed. W. D. Paden, 53–86. Gainesville, FL.

—. 2019. Orality, Textuality, and the Homeric Epics: An Interdisciplinary Study of Oral Texts, Dictated Texts, and Wild Texts. Oxford.

Saussure, F. de. 1916. Cours de linguistique générale. Paris. Critical ed. 1972 by T. de Mauro.

Zumthor, P. 1972. Essai de poétique médiévale. Paris.

—. 1983. Introduction à la poésie orale. Paris.

—. 1984. La Poésie de la Voix dans la civilisation médiévale. Paris.

—. 1987. La Lettre et la voix: De la “littérature” médiévale. Paris.