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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In terms of poetics, the contest between Hesiod and Homer seems simultaneously natural and surprising: natural because both of them composed in the artificial “song dialect” and highly formulaic medium of epea, and surprising because Homer’s long, heroic poetry differed so greatly in voice, theme, length, structure, and style from Hesiod’s much shorter, catalogic narrative poetry or from his didactic poetry. This chapter examines Hesiod’s poetry alongside Homer’s in terms of voice and theme, length and form, and style and genealogical lists. With examples from both singers, I propose that it may be a stylistic feature of catalogic poetry to interweave the personified names in a list with the corresponding lowercase words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) in the surrounding narrative. I also propose that, to a greater extent than Homer, Hesiod, with his fondness for word play and etymological punning, draws attention upon individual words.

Keywords: Hesiod, Homer, catalogic narrative, genealogical lists, didactic poetry, style

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