Journal of Hellenic Studies:1-48 (forthcoming)

Abstract
[Milman Parry established first that Homeric poetry was traditional, based on his studies of its formulae and language, and then that it was oral, based on his experience of recording south Slavic epic; he likened the unusually long epics of Avdo Međedović to those of Homer. Albert Lord put the two concepts together, holding that both south Slavic epic and Homeric poetry were oral-traditional and that all oral epic poetry, including that of Međedović, is traditional. However, the author’s investigations into the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature and his personal experience of collecting epics in Montenegro in 1989 prove that this is incorrect. The poems of Avdo Međedović do not conform to traditional uses of language, theme and story-patterns, but offer something new, of which other traditional singers disapproved, as their recorded conversations demonstrate. Similarly, by analogy, the epics of Homer differed from the traditional poems of the Epic Cycle, exactly as Aristotle indicates in the Poetics. Hence neither Međedović nor, by analogy, Homer were fully traditional poets, although they were oral poets; instead, they deliberately adapted the tradition so that the old stories were mixed and matched into much lengthier and more complex epics, which should be called post-traditional.]
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DOI 10.1017/s0075426919000016
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