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David Elmer: Beyond the Oral-Formulaic Theory: Reflections of a Homerist on the Study of South Slavic Epic Song

About the Workshop

This workshop explores from a multidisciplinary standpoint how oral literature stands alongside and engages with texts in literate societies. While the study of oral literature has transformed many disciplines in the last century, the label of “true” orality was originally granted only to pre-literate traditions. We bring together a variety of perspectives as to how different disciplines have bridged the perceived gap between verbal art and artistic text. To that end, the workshop builds an ongoing conversation on
topics such as the transmission and textualization of folk literature, the interplay between spoken word and written text, and the sociology of reading and performance. 
 

Our aim is to broaden participants’ perspectives of oral literature in a literate society by encouraging a methodological dialogue across disciplines. Each session features an invited speaker who gives a short introduction to a pre-circulated paper followed by a respondent who will open the discussion. We warmly invite anyone who is interested in questions surrounding orality and literacy to join us for food and fellowship.

Please join our mailing list to receive notices about events and pre-circulated papers. 

David Elmer: Beyond the Oral-Formulaic Theory: Reflections of a Homerist on the Study of South Slavic Epic Song

A member of Harvard's Classics faculty since 2007, David Elmer holds a PhD from Harvard's Department of Comparative Literature. He is Associate Curator of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature, a member of the Standing Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology, an an affiliate of the Department of Comparative Literature. He teaches a broad range of courses on the history and interpretation of Greek literature at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Topics of current research include the Homeric poems, the ancient novel, and South Slavic oral epic song.