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Homer's Cosmic FabricationChoice and Design in the Iliad$
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Bruce Heiden

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195341072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341072.001.0001

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Event Trajectories in the “Books” of the Iliad

Event Trajectories in the “Books” of the Iliad

Homer's Cosmic Fabrication

Bruce Heiden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to the question of a reader's orientation within horizons shorter than the epic as a whole. Examining the transmitted articulation of the epic into “books” and analyzing their event trajectories, the study finds that each book narrates a trajectory consisting of a Problem/Decision stage, an Action stage, and a low-consequence Aftermath stage, varied by internal elaborations and repetitions but always following the three stages in the same order. Since these important narrative subtrajectories are congruent with the transmitted articulation, the articulation furnishes readers with valuable cognitive orientation. The phrasing of transitions that coincide with some transmitted articulations also suggests that the articulations were known to the composer and coeval with the rest of the composition. Scholarly claims that the articulation was a late intrusion are critiqued through examination of the alleged ancient testimony and indirect evidence.

Keywords:   book-divisions, epic, event trajectories, Iliad, narrative articulation, Moves, orientation, transmission

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