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Pointing at the Past

Pointing at the Past

From Formula to Performance in Homeric Poetics

Egbert J. Bakker

ISBN 9780674019553

Publication date: 01/30/2006

Epic is not only a nostalgic memory of a remote past, but also, as performance, a deliberate act in the present. In fact, as this book argues, memory is itself a deliberate act when it is turned into epic language. With numerous fresh linguistic observations the author shows that the epic narrator makes the epic past come to the present: epic is not only a verbal artifact that points to the past; it also is a performer's act of pointing at a past that has become present in and through language. Building on his earlier work, Egbert Bakker demonstrates the power of discourse analysis as an essential tool for elucidating the poetics of the Homeric tradition.


  • Egbert J. Bakker is Professor of Classics at Yale University.

Book Details

  • 224 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 9 inches
  • Center for Hellenic Studies

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