Speaking Volumes

Orality and Literacy in the Greek and Roman World


Editor: Janet Watson
This volume examines orality and literacy in the ancient Greek and Roman world through a range of perspectives and in various genres. Four essays on the Homeric epics present recent research into performative aspects of language, cognitive theory and oral composition, a re-evaluation of Parry's oral-formulaic theory, and a new perspective on the poem's transmission. These are complemented by studies of the oral nature of Greek proverbial expressions, and of poetic authority within a fluid oral tradition. Two essays consider the significance of the written word in a predominantly oral culture, in relation to star calendars and to Panathenaic inscriptions.
Finally, two chapters consider the ongoing influence of oral tradition in the ancient novel and in Roman declamation.
These essays illustrate the importance of considering ancient texts in the context of fluctuating oral and literate influences.
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Biographical Note

Janet Watson, Ph.D. (1995) in Classics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, is a former lecturer in Classics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has published on the Homeric epics.


All those interested in oral traditions, the development of literacy in the Greek and Roman worlds, as well as Homerists and classical philologists.


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