Daimokutate: Ritual Placatory Performance of the Genpei War

This article explores the connections between a coming-of-age ritual in rural Japan and one of the important narratives underwriting the rise of Japan’s warrior class. the Genpei War that brought it to power in 1185. Through an explication of the narrative and performative elements of the ritual, Oyler demonstrates how one problematic story about Japan’s […]

“Blasts of Language”: Changes in Oral Poetics in Britain Since 1965

This article examines how oral performances of poetry have proliferated over the past forty years to become an essential part of the writing and distribution of poetry in the UK. Our analysis of this phenomenon involves historical research and suggests new ways of looking at the construction of poetic meaning. We draw on interviews with […]

Neoanalysis, Orality, and Intertextuality: An Examination of Homeric Motif Transference

In Homeric studies scholars have speculated on the influence of (non-surviving) preHomeric material on the Iliad. This article expands this line of argument from an oralist perspective, with reference to modern intertextual theory. It concludes that preHomeric and nonHomeric motifs from oral traditions were transferred into the epic poem, creating an intertextually allusive poetics that […]

Carneades’ Quip: Orality, Philosophy, Wit, and the Poetics of Impromptu Quotation

This paper explores the reworking of orally-derived poetry and myth amongst philosophers in the Hellenistic age. The specific topic is a series of poetic quotations that were exchanged between Carneades of Cyrene and one of his pupils. An analysis of this exchange suggests that the aesthetics and communicative power of oral poetics continued to be […]

“Whistlin’ Towards the Devil’s House”: Poetic Transformations and Natural Metaphysics in an Appalachian Folktale Performance

The late Ray Hicks of Beech Mountain, North Carolina was an acclaimed master of the traditional storytelling art. Yet little has been written that conveys the poetic dimensions of his tellings, nor their striking liberties within traditional molds. This study centers on a performance of one of Hicks’s signature tales, “Wicked John and the Devil.” […]

Calliope, a Muse apart. Some Remarks on the Tradition of Memory as a Vehicle of Oral Justice

Our analysis of the special role of Calliope, the Muse of “the beautiful voice”, is based on four ancient Greek poetic texts: an extract from Hesiod’s Theogony, an elegy of Solon, a Pindar’s ode and a fragment of Empedocles. Indeed, Calliope is connected with a particular kind of speech. This speech embraces the notions of […]

Elaborate Versionings: Characteristics of Emergent Performance in Three Print/Oral/ Aural Poets

Literary studies regards the “poetry reading” as a marginal phenomenon. By resituating the published poems of Amiri Baraka, Kamau Brathwaite, and Cecilia Vicuña in performance contexts, this essay proposes that each reading has the dimensions of an emergent performance, with distinguishable oral dynamics. The poet-performers break through into performativity by means of elaboration and versioning. […]

Performance and Text in the Italian Carolingian Tradition

The Italian chivalric-epic tradition is based primarily on medieval Carolingian lore from France. Oral and written manifestations of this tradition influenced and enriched each other across the centuries. This essay explores the dialectic between oral and written Carolingian epic in Italy. It focuses on the medieval cantari poems and on the Sicilian cunto, which was […]