Noah's Reviews > The Singer of Tales

The Singer of Tales by Albert Bates Lord
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Extremely enjoyable if out-of-date. Any scholar of oral poetry will find this book enlightening in view of the modern discussions as many of them stem from or argue against this type of approach. Lord's system of formulas (phrases of set length with interchangeable parts to allow for varied sense) is fascinating, particularly when broadened to theme and construction of tales, but what has developed from 1960s has been, in my opinion, able to fill in many of the holes or details of Lord's theory. Not to say that it is simplified but that it thrived on development, like a poem worked at over a long period of time by a good artist. Still, reading this book allowed me to more fully understand the foundation that more modern scholars have been building upon and, thus, comprehend their arguments much better (historical perspective usually does this). The section on Beowulf (my particular area of study) is unfortunately not as interesting as it may be, but the poem was certainly brought into the discussion by Lord's later commentators.

Even further, Lord is simply good to read. It's always enjoyable to read someone so in love with his area of study.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Lada (new)

Lada very interesting Fascinating experience an oral poem or a medieeval one such aseowulf. There are themes firmulas in Beowulf which show its oral origin or relying on orality.


message 2: by Lada (new)

Lada very interesting Fascinating experience an oral poem or a medieeval one such aseowulf. There are themes firmulas in Beowulf which show its oral origin or relying on orality.


message 3: by Lada (new)

Lada very interesting Fascinating experience an oral poem or a medieeval one such aseowulf. There are themes firmulas in Beowulf which show its oral origin or relying on orality.


Noah There are certainly aspects of Beowulf that show its orality but there are also many aspects of the poem that show a literary mind. One of the great beauties of the poem is that it is so multifaceted; if it were just oral or just a literary creation than I don't think it would be as amazing as it is.


message 5: by Lada (new)

Lada that is very true, Certainly it is a great literary achievement whether oral or written. It is a brillant work of art at the crossroads of orality and literacy, of the individual and the traditional as all works of creation are.It is like a mirror on which many are reflected, beginning with its hero, splendid and secretive


message 6: by Lada (new)

Lada Thank you, Noah. Beowulf isa high class epic poem. Themes and formulas are fascinating. It is an exemple of an individual talent of using formulaic phrases


Karesi Very Nice


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