Homer's Versicolored Fabric: The Evocative Power of Ancient Greek Epic Word-Making

Homer's Versicolored Fabric: The Evocative Power of Ancient Greek Epic Word-Making

by Anna Bonifazi


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Anna Bonifazi suggests that the Homeric text we have now would have enabled ancient audiences to enjoy the evocative power of even minimal linguistic elements. The multiple functions served by these elements are associated not only with the variety of narrative contexts in which they occur but also with overarching poetic strategies.

The findings relate to two strategies in particular: unfolding the narrative by signaling the upcoming content with αύ- adverbs and particles, and letting the complexity of Odysseus’s identity resonate through the ambiguous use of third-person pronouns. The words’ evocative power springs from the deliberate merging of distinct meanings, which prompts multifaceted interpretations. The text allows the incorporation of different viewpoints, just as an iridescent fabric allows the simultaneous perception of different colors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674060623
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 08/16/2012
Series: Hellenic Studies Series , #50
Pages: 350
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Anna Bonifazi is head of an Emmy Noether independent research group at the University of Heidelberg.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Evocative Power of Word-Making 1

1 The Cognitive Presence of the Absent Hero (Odyssey i-iv) 13

Alternative Readings of Third-Person Pronouns: Accessibility of the Referent, Narrative Functions, and Pragmatic Impact 19

Case-Studies from Homer 26

Grammatical Accounts of (e)keinos 38

The Significance of keinos Referring to Odysseus in the First Four Books of the Odyssey 40

Visual and Social/Emotional Implications of the Utterance of (e)keinos Elsewhere 51

Conclusion: The Force of "That One" 65

2 Encounter, Visit, and Celebration: Homeric Layering (Odyssey xiv) 69

Dramatic Irony-Based Readings 72

Layering-Based Readings 78

Layering of Words, Gestures, and Objects in Odyssey xiv 81

From the Mouth of Odysseus: Beggar, Master, and Cult Hero 83

From the Mouth of Eumaeus: Slave, Worshipper, and Hero 95

The Primary Speaking 'T' on What Happens 105

Conclusion: Beyond the Unity of Plot and Characters 120

3 Odysseus who? Polyphonic Marks of Identity (Odyssey xv-xxiv) 127

Accounts of Homeric αvτoζ 132

The Present Account of Homeric αvτoζ 134

αvτoζ, as Intensifier: The Center-Periphery Idea 137

αvτoζ and Someone's True Identity 150

αvτoζ and Sameness 153

Odysseus as αvτoζ, in the First Half of the Poem 155

The Polyphony of Odysseus αvτoζ and Odysseus κεινοζ (Odyssey xv-xxi) 159

Odysseus αντοζ Wins (Odyssey xxii-xxiii) 173

The Final Resuming Polyphony (Odyssey xxiv) 178

Conclusion: "I am the Inside and the Outside" 180

4 Visual and Narrative Functions of αυ-Discourse Markers 185

Discourse Markers 189

Ancient Greek Particles Working as Discourse Markers 201

αu-Discourse Markers 209

Presentational Functions of αυ, αυτε, and ανταρ 218

Interactional Functions of αu, αυτε, and ανταρ 243

In Lyric, Elegiac, and Iambic Poetry 251

Conclusion: Distinctiveness and Discontinuity within Performative Continuity 258

5 "Back Again," "(Right) There/Then," "(Right) Here/Now," and "In Vain": The Uses of αντιζ, αυτiκα, αυτου, and αυτωζ 263

αντiζ 263

αντíκα 273

αυτου, αυθ1, and αυτοθ1 281

αυτωζ 285

Conclusion: About Facts and About Acts 290

Conclusion: Homer's Versicolored Fabric 293

Appendix: Loci Odysseus as κεivoζc and αυτóζ; in the Odyssey 299

Bibliography 301

Index Locorum 327

Index of Subjects 343

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