Eric Alfred Havelock: The Muse Learns to Write Reflections on Orality and Literacy from Antiuity to the Present



BOOKS READ The Muse Learns to Write Reflections on Orality and Literacy from Antiuity to the Present AUTHOR Eric Alfred Havelock – cafe1919.org

Albert Lord together proposed an idea which would have allowed all pre literate poets like Homer to improvise their poetry it also gives a cohesive set of explanations concerning why Homeric poetry looks the way it does Their thesis later picked up by the likes of Walter Ong and Eric Havelock is called the Parry Lord thesis The Muse Learns to Write is Havelock s last major work and mostly a book length meditation on the Parry Lord thesis It is also a summa which tries to recapitulate an entire career s worth of ideas while tying up loose ends Because of this its length under 130 pages it seem like a short precursory introduction into the idea of orality It is far complex than its length would initially lead you to assumeHavelock for many years a Sterling Professor of the classics at Yale is interested not so much in the shape of Homeric poetry but rather the forms that occurred in human consciousness that were caused by the shift from orality to literacy Also how does this important transition inflict itself also upon the texts themselves deforming or reshaping their meaning and content Some uestions are so important that they may be almost counted to be scandalous One of the difficulties of thinking about language is that you have to use language to think about it A linguistic act has to be directed upon itself Once written down the act could be visualized and this visual this could be separated from the act of speaking and laid out in a kind of visual map But what was the nature and significance of the speaking act itself What has been its role in man s history Havelock 34 According to Havelock not even the emergence of Greek philosophy escaped the influence of the orality literacy transition He cites the uniue character of Plato whose denunciation of poetry as a form of rhetorical decadence marks a sharp break from his own written prose a prose which should be noted is highly indicative of his own background as a dramatist Since so much of philosophy was born of Plato s dramatic dialogues involving Socrates we have to ask ourselves whether even the most basic presupposi. Rewarding in its sophistication As have his other works this book will contribute mightily to curing the biases resulting from our own literacy” J Peter Denny Canadian Journal of Linguistics“An extremely useful summary and extension of the revisionist thinking of Eric Havelock whom most classicists and comparatists would rank among the premier classical scholars of the last three decades The book presents important though controversial ideas in an available format” Choice.

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The Text when in an increasingly shifting society the lines of such difference are not so clear I think this work is a good umping off point for a discussion of orality and literacy but should not be the final stop in what is to be a long ourney Amazing material Chaps 89 10 on the development of literacy in Greek oral culture This book totally blew me away Even though this is my area I have been away so long that I did not have an inkling of this inspiring and challenging look at the way that orality and literature interacted in the latest classical discussion This should at least be on the reading list as a complimentary study for all English students as well as classical ones Perhaps I am the only one who was not acuainted with this latest uggernaut into the world of classical students If you are unaware like I was you really should do yourself a favor and delve in An interesting reexamination of William Ong s work on orality and literacy not uite as sublimely written or as cohesive What s remarkable here is the suggestion that the interstitial period between literacy and pure orality that unpure era of several centuries in which a hybrid culture existed is that golden era of classical culture the West aspires to not the post Platonic in which the philosopher of reason deplored verse and poetics Also suggestions of how orality was reintroduced into discourse in the advent of radio technology and how this also lead to the re ignition of pathos and kairos as dominant rhetorical appeals setting the stage for Hitler and Mussolini Again an interesting read for the hardcore but only as an answer to Ong s work About 28 centuries ago one of the most importance occurrences in what would eventually become Europe took place the sudden evolution of the Phoenician syllabary into the full Greek alphabet we know today Before this time absolutely all information had to be transmitted orally from contracts between parties to how to become a Greek citizen to knowledge of everything from your complex family genealogy to how to engage on the battlefield Two scholars Milman Parry and. This shift in ancient Greece and has now brought his vast learning and reflections to bear on our own times This book is for a wide audience and calls for thoroughly rethinking current views on language thought and society from classical scholarship through modern philosophy anthropology and poststructuralism” Walter J Ong“All in all we have in this book the summary statement of one of the great pioneers in the study of oral and literate culture fascinating in its scope and.

I was left feeling meh I expected much from this Es una peue a muestra del trabajo de E A Havelock sobre oralidad y procesos de transici n hacia la escritura M s a n resulta impresionante el peue o cap tulo dedicado a la Radio y el redescubrimiento de la Ret rica Sorprendida de todos los autores ue fue entrelazando en su escritura y como fue formando y cambiando mis ideas respecto del valor de la oralidad y la escritura y como ambos se siguen relacionando hasta nuestros d as One of the most frustrating books I have read in awhile This work is not meant to be read by itself but in conjunction with others probably his other published works but I highly recommend reading the article by John Havlerson Havelock on Greek orality and literacy Journal of the History of Ideas 1992 148 163 if you want to get an understanding and critiue of Havelock s arguments Walter Ong s Orality and Literacy is another for a different perspectiveFor the most part Havelock assumes that the reader has read everything he has and so the writing here does not take the time to ground the reader in anything like contextOverall I think that Havelock presents a good theoretical account for the separation of orality and literacy He poses a number of intriguing uestions such as those he outlines in Chapter 3 The Orality Problem as it has presented itself for investigation during the last 25 years has been argued from several points of viewHistory what has it meant for societies and their cultures in the past to discard oral means of communication in favor of literate onesContemporary what is the relationship between the spoken word of today or yesterday and the written textLinguistic what happens to the structure of a spoken language when it becomes a written artifactPhilosophy Is oral communication the instrument of an oral state of mind a type of consciousness uite different from the literate state of mind abridged uoteHowever I think the approach to answer these uestions are lacking He like Ong relies on a strict dichotomy of oralityliteracy that other scholars reject see Karin Barber Anthropology of. When oral culture becomes literate in what way does human consciousness itself change And how does the new form of communication affect the content and meaning of texts In this book one of the most original and penetrating thinkers in Greek studies describes the transformation from orality to literacy in classical times and reflects upon its continued meaning for us today“Fresh insights into the orality literacy shift in human consciousness from one who has long been studying.

Eric Alfred Havelock was a British classicist who spent most of his life in Canada and the United States He was a professor at the University of Toronto and was active in the Canadian socialist movement during the 1930s In the 1960s and 1970s he served as chair of the classics departments at both Harvard and Yale Although he was trained in the turn of the 20th century Oxbridge tradition of cla