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Singers and Tales in the 21st Century: The Legacies of Milman Parry and Albert Lord

On December 3-5, 2010, the Milman Parry Collection hosted a symposium to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Albert Lord's seminal Singer of Tales, and the 75th anniversary of the death of his mentor, Milman Parry. Twenty-nine speakers from around the world honored the legacies of these two pathfinding scholars by presenting original research, and live performances spotlighted the continuing vitality of oral traditions in the 21st century.

The symposium coincided with the opening of an exhibition in Houghton Library of materials from the Milman Parry Collection and the Harvard Library, curated by Amber Rose. The papers presented at the symposium are currently being prepared for publication by the eventís organizer, David Elmer.

Click on the links below to view complete video recordings of the presentations and performances. With the exception of the performances, the videos are listed in the order of the original conference program, which was organized according to eleven topical sessions devoted to crucial themes in the study of oral traditions.

Videos are provided in medium resolution for streaming in your browser and high resolution for dowloading. Medium resolution videos may take a few seconds to begin streaming, depending on your connection speed.


Performances

Odhon Bayar, selections from the Gesar epic. Watch the video:
Introduction, High Res (download, right click), Performance, Medium Res (stream, left click), Performance, High Res (download, right click)

Odhon Bayar, from Aar-Horchin Banner, Inner Mongolia, is a distinguished performer of Mongolian epic poetry and Huur-in-Ulger, a local storytelling genre. He has won numerous awards as a master singer.

Âşık Şeref Taşlıova, The Tale (hikâye) of Lady Baghdat and Hafiz. Watch the video:
Performance Part 1, Medium Res
(stream, left click). Performance Part1, High Res (download, right click)
Performance Part 2, Medium Res (stream, left click), Performance Part2, High Res (download, right click)

Born in 1938 in northeastern Turkey, Âşık Şeref Taşlıova is well known in Turkey and abroad for his rich poetic oeuvre. His name appears on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


Scholarly Presentations

Egbert Bakker, “Homeric Formulas and the Intertextuality Continuum”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Carl Lindahl, “The Porous House Sequence in Appalachian Folktales”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Chao Gejin, “Current Trends in Chinese Folkloristics: A Perspective from the Localized Application of the Oral-Formulaic Theory”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Minna Skafte Jensen, “Menelaus in the Odyssey: A Study in Patterned Narrative”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Françoise Létoublon, “The Trojan Formulaic Theater”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

John Miles Foley, “Oral Epic in Stolac: Collective Tradition and Individual Art”
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Mirsad Kunić, “The Death of the Hero Mustaj Bey of the Lika in the Songs of the Milman Parry Collection”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Ronelle Alexander, “Tracking the Epic Register in South Slavic”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Nicola Scaldaferri and Zymer Neziri, “From the Archive to the Field: New Research on Albanian Epic Songs”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Nikolay Grintser, “Common Grief: Weeping Over Hector and Rama”
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Olga Levaniouk, “The Dreams of Barchin and Penelope”
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Holly Davidson, “The Written Text as a Metaphor for the Integrity of Oral Composition in Iranian Traditions and Beyond”
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Anna Bonifazi and David Elmer, “Visuality in South Slavic and Homeric Epic”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Joseph Nagy, “Snakes of the Heart in Serbian and Irish Heroic Tale”
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Peter McMurray, “There Are No Oral Media? Aural and Visual Perceptions of South Slavic Epic Poetry”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott, “Multitext as an Extension of the Theory and Fieldwork of Parry (and Lord)”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

David Bouvier, “Formulaic Expressions and Memory in Homer”
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Carlo Severi, “Composition in the Mind: Iconography, Orality, and the Anthropology of Memory”
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John Franklin, “South Slavic Heroic Melody: Towards a New Method of Analysis”
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Dwight Reynolds, “Composition in Performance Arab Style”
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Karl Reichl, “The Singing of Tales: The Role of Music in Epic Performance and in the Edited Text”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Lars Lönnroth, “Old Norse Texts as Performance”
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Gísli Sigurðsson, “The Oral Background of the Eddas and Sagas”
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Tom DuBois, “Yearning for Multimedia Before Its Time”
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Anna Stavrakopoulou, “Dialogue of the Deaf: Puppeteers vs. Interviewers on Oral History and Historical Data”
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Aida Vidan, “The Ballad of a Lost Sibling: Oral Sources of Croatian Renaissance Drama”
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Lotte Tarkka, “Dialogue of Genres in Kalevala Meter Oral Poetry”
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Susan Niditch, “Preserving Traditions of ‘Them’ and the Creation of ‘Us’: Formulaic Language, Historiography, Mythology, and Self-Definition”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click) 

Margaret Beissinger, “Transgression, Shame, and the Upholding of Traditional Society: Incest in Balkan Oral Epic”
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)

Remarks

Marian Parry, Concluding Remarks
Watch the video: Medium Res (stream, left click) High Res (download, right click)


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