Herodotus and the Rise of the Greek Narrative Prose


Ort: Bibliothek des Internationalen Kollegs Morphomata, Weyertal 59, Rückgebäude, 3. OG50937 Köln

Konzept: Irene de Jong, Dietrich Boschung

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Fifth century BC Greece witnessed a major innovation: the emergence of written prose as a new medium of communication, next to (semi-) oral poetry. A key figure in this process is the ‘father of history’ Herodotus and his nine books of Histories. There were prose-writers before Herodotus (e.g. mythographers), but only fragments of their work survive (recently collected and commented by prof. Robert Fowler, one of the speakers).

In this workshop a number of specialists, both from within and from outside classics, will discuss the transition from oral to written narrative and from poetic to prose narrative. Does this transition bring along changes in narrative technique? Narratology has only just started to become interested in the connection between medium and narrative, in what is called transmedial narratology, focusing on movies, radio, television, music, pictures, photography, blogs, comics, or computer games. The Histories, a written prose text which is at the same time strongly rooted in the oral epic tradition, offer a fascinating testing ground for this emerging research field.


Robert Fowler (Bristol): Herodotus and the pleasure of the text

Luuk Huitink (Heidelberg): Temporal Structure in Oral and Written Greek Narrative

Rutger Allan (Amsterdam): Oral Aspects of Herodotus´ Style: a Linguistic Approach

Karl Reichl (Bonn): Dérimage and Prosimetrum: Prose Narration in Some Medieval and Modern Oral Traditions