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The Dance of the MusesChoral Theory and Ancient Greek Poetics$
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A. P. David

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199292400

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199292400.001.0001

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Introduction: The Right Comparison

Introduction: The Right Comparison

(p.1) 1 Introduction: The Right Comparison
The Dance of the Muses

A. P. David

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter prepares the way for new theories of epic and lyric poetics, particularly Homeric poetics, based on the notion of choreia (χορεία), by pointing out the comparatist foundations of recent Homeric poetics. A basic exposition of Saussure’s theory and critique of the comparative method sets the table for a revisiting of Milman Parry’s theory of Homeric composition, based on a comparison of Homer to ‘improvised’ south Slavic epic. It is argued that the right comparison for Homeric narrative is with modern classical music grounded in dance rhythm, because unlike the metre of the orally composed comparate, Homeric metre derives from a particular dance.

Keywords:   epic, lyric, choreia, Homer, comparative method, Saussure, Parry, metre

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