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Writing and the Origins of Greek Literature - Barry B. Powell

Writing and the Origins of Greek Literature

Hardcover Published: 5th December 2002
ISBN: 9780521782067
Number Of Pages: 228

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Professor Powell ties the origin and nature of archaic Greek literature to the special technology of Greek alphabetic writing. In building his model he presents chapters on specialized topics - text, orality, myth, literacy, tradition, and memorization - and then shows how such special topics relate to larger issues of cultural transmission from East to West. Several chapters are devoted to the theory and history of writing, its definition and general nature as well as such individual developments as semasiography and logosyllabography, Chinese writing, and the West Semitic family of syllabaries. He shows how the Greek alphabet put an end to the multiliteralism of Eastern traditions of writing, and how the recording of Homer and other early epic poetry cannot be separated from the alphabetic revolution. Finally, he explains how the creation of Greek alphabetic texts demoticized Greek myth and encouraged many free creations of new myths based on Eastern images.

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List of figures
Introduction: building models like a wigwam
Orality and genre
M. L. West and the Eastern origins of Greek tradition
Cultural transmission by literate means in the Near East
Writing: general
Writing: semasiography and logosyllabography
Writing: the Chinese enigma
Oral and written in the land between the rivers
Oral and written in the Valley of the Nile
The West Semitic revolution
The invention of the Greek alphabet and the end of multiliteralism
Where does Homer fit in the alphabetic revolution
The aoidos in context
Aoidic innovation in myth: stories from pots
Summary and conclusions: early Greek literature in context
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521782067
ISBN-10: 0521782066
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 228
Published: 5th December 2002
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.5