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Homer and the Poetics of Gesture Alex C. Purves (Professor of Classics, Professor of Classics, UCLA)

Homer and the Poetics of Gesture By Alex C. Purves (Professor of Classics, Professor of Classics, UCLA)

Homer and the Poetics of Gesture by Alex C. Purves (Professor of Classics, Professor of Classics, UCLA)


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Summary

This book draws on studies of movement, gesture, and early film to offer a series of readings on repetition through the body in Homer. Each chapter presents an argument based on a specific posture, action or gesture (falling, running, leaping, standing, and crouching), through which to rethink epic practices of embodiment and formularity.

Homer and the Poetics of Gesture Summary

Homer and the Poetics of Gesture by Alex C. Purves (Professor of Classics, Professor of Classics, UCLA)

Homer and the Poetics of Gesture is the first book of its kind to consider the epic formula in terms that are gestural as well as verbal. Drawing on studies from multiple disciplines, including movement theory, dance studies, phenomenology, and early film, it suggests new approaches for interpreting the relationship between repetition and embodiment in Homer. Through a series of dynamic close readings, Purves argues that the deep-seated habits and gestures of epic bodies are instrumental to our understanding of the Iliad and Odyssey, especially insofar as they attune us to the kinetic structures and sensibilities that shape the meaning of the poems. Each of the chapters isolates a scene in which a specific action, posture, or gesture (falling, running, leaping, standing, and reaching) emerges from the background of its other iterations in order to make larger claims about its poetic significance within the epics as a whole. Beginning from the premise that gestures are shared between characters and often identically repeated within the poems' formulaic system, the book reconsiders long-standing arguments about Homeric agency and character by focusing on those moments when a gesture diverges from its expected course, redirecting the plot or drawing the poem in new and surprising directions. Homer and the Poetics of Gesture not only affords new insights into the nature of epic repetition and poetic originality but also reveals unnoticed connections between Homeric structure and technique and the embodied habits and movements of the characters within the poems.

Homer and the Poetics of Gesture Reviews

The scale of Purves' accomplishment in this book is simply dazzling. She has offered a wealth of new interpretive insights...while providing a methodological model that can be applied to the study of bodies and embodied performance in antiquity. * Anna Uhlig, Classical Journal-Online *
Recommended. * D. Lateiner, CHOICE *
Following a perspective that is both rigorous and open, [Purves' book] achieves its goal perfectly, renewing prevailing Homeric scholarship through the study of gesture and its effects on the representation of characters, their style, and the plot, as well as on the ancient and modern reader/spectator. * Michel Briand, Bryn Mawr Classical Review *
An illuminating study of body-language in the Iliad and the Odyssey. [Purves's] greatest contribution lies in showing that the interplay between what is patterned and what is innovative extends to the kinetic aspects of Homeric epic. -Christos Tsagalis, Classical World
A remarkable book... [It] offers a new poetics of gesture that convincingly shows that bodies move in formal and virtually formulaic patterns in the two epics, and that these movements weave together complex patterns of meaning. * James I. Porter, author of Homer: The Very Idea *
One of the most original, illuminating studies of Homeric poetry in the past half-century. Purves...convincingly reinterprets both individual passages and each epic as a whole. * Seth L. Schein, author of The Mortal Hero: an Introduction to Homer's Iliad *

About Alex C. Purves (Professor of Classics, Professor of Classics, UCLA)

Alex C. Purves is Professor of Classics at University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Space and Time in Ancient Greek Narrative and the editor of Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses (with Shane Butler) and Touch and the Ancient Senses. She has also written several articles on Homer and archaic Greek poetry.

Additional information

NPB9780197651193
9780197651193
0197651194
Homer and the Poetics of Gesture by Alex C. Purves (Professor of Classics, Professor of Classics, UCLA)
New
Paperback
Oxford University Press Inc
2022-07-12
232
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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