We are pleased to announce that Albert B. Lord’s The Singer of Tales is now available, for free, in electronic form on the newly redesigned CHS website.
Albert Lord’s book builds on the work begun by Milman Parry during his search for the oral traditions in the Yugoslavia of 1933–35, when he began recording and studying a living tradition of oral poetry to further understanding of how Homeric poetry had been composed. Their studies demonstrate how oral poetry combines composition and performance, and throws light on the multiform nature of oral traditions.
The book includes information on how singers performed and trained, how formulas and themes are used, and how the creative role of the singer, and applies these findings to Homeric and medieval epic.
This work influenced a generation of scholars, and has become a classic for the general study of oral and written literature, as well as providing an important contribution for ethnological and folkoristic studies.
Originally published in 1960, this second edition of 2000 has an introduction by Stephen Mitchell and Gregory Nagy.
Members can join the discussion about this work in the forum.