Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 1999.01.02

Harald Patzer, Die Formgesetze des homerischen Epos.   Stuttgart:  Steiner, 1996.  Pp. 230.  ISBN 3-515-06999-2.  

Reviewed by Ahuvia Kahane, Northwestern University (
Word count: 159 words

This book was published in 1996, but it was drafted in the late seventies, after Harald Patzer's retirement. The first part of this book deals with the elementary formal characteristics of the Homeric hexameter. The second part deals with the "rules" of epic narrative, how it treats simultaneous events, its representation of internal thoughts, simile, etc. The third part deals with the stylized world represented in Homer: warrior-aristocracies, gods, and the pursuit of kleos and timê. Some items on the bibliography are from recent decades, but for the most part the book is firmly anchored in selective parts of German scholarship from earlier times. Other studies of Homer and relevant aspects of poetics in the last seventy years are here represented by Parry's L'Epithet traditionelle, Bowra's Tradition and Design, Fenik on battle scenes, Kirk's first volume of the Iliad commentary, and Yip, M. "The Development of Chinese Verse," in Arnulf and Oehrle (eds.) Language and Structure (Cambridge, MA: 1984).

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