Classical Antiquity
Parry in Paris: Structuralism, Historical Linguistics, and the Oral Theory
Théérèèse de Vet


Abstract This paper investigates the origins of the Oral Theory as formulated by Milman Parry in Paris during the late 1920s by reexamining the scholarship on which it rests. Parry's Oral Theory compared the texts of oral performances in Yugoslavia with the Homeric texts in order to shed light on the presumed oral origins of the latter. His work integrated the work of the linguist and Indo-Europeanist Antoine Meillet, the linguist and scholar of oral poetics Matthias Murko, and the anthropologists Lucien Léévy-Bruhl and Marcel Jousse.

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