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Traditional Themes and Homeric Hymns

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Product Code: 0376
ISBN: 978-0-86516-037-8
Pages: 403
Availability: In stock.
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Paperback $55.00 Qty:

The Homeric Hymns have long stood in the immense shadow of Homer and Hesiod. Yet they are delightful in their own right and our source for several of the most intriguing Greek myths.


Sowa illustrates how the Hymns belong to the oral poetic tradition, with its characteristic formulae, type scenes, and narrative themes that supply the plot structure. Themes, like formulae, entirely pervade the poems.


Sowa treats eight major themes that reflect the great mythic archetypes identified by Jung, Rank, and others. She traces how themes are made fresh to each context in which they occur.

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Review by: Mark Edwards, Stanford University - January 1, 1990
The Homeric Hymns have at last received a thorough and up-to-date literary analysis and appreciation.... Dr. Sowa’s identification and analysis of the characteristic themes in the Homeric Hymns are excellently done and will be of importance to anyone concerned with ancient literature, religion and myth.
Review by: John Finley, Jr., Harvard University - January 1, 1990
This book both rises to the beauty of the Hymns and detailedly shows their oral origins. It still further brightens the great early poetry.
Review by: Michael Nagler, University of California - January 1, 1990
Cora Sowa here gives us the first book-length study of the themes—mythic, oral, literary—of the Homeric Hymns, as far as I am aware. . . . her comprehensive study will put a valuable set of tools in the hands of scholars and teachers of Archaic Greek inheritance. The approach and the materials were well chosen, and the results fruitful.
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