Byzantine Edifying Stories between Orality and Literacy



Rok publikování 2018
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The hagiographic edifying story is a particularly interesting case for scholars working in the field of Byzantine literary orality since this genre is based on orally transmitted storytelling (primary orality), but the texts were also, at least in part, intended for oral performance (secondary orality). Moreover, most collections feature intensive efforts to suppress literacy and stress orality in order to claim the truth and authenticity of the accounts. The preserved collections of edifying stories were written by both eponymous and anonymous authors of various social and educational backgrounds. Thus, it is possible to explore a selection of (potentially) oral features in many texts of one single genre, sometimes even rendering the same or very similar story, and compare the outcomes of the analysis with other texts by the same authors which do not have an oral background. By exploring this genre, we can also gain the opportunity to study the fate and functions of oral features within a longer period (fourth to the 10th cent.), during which the genre gradually distanced itself from its oral origins. The first part of my talk was dedicated to the special nature of the genre outlined above, while the second part will focus on one particular example of a (potentially) oral feature, namely the present-tense narration. Starting from a general categorisation of the present tense used in narratives (historical, narrative, visualizing, grammaticalized present tense), I proceeded to analyse the use of this device in selected collections (The Lausiac History by Palladios, Daniel-Scetiotes-Dossier, the collections of Anastasios Sinaites) and attempt to answer the following questions: Which narrative functions does the present tense perform? Is there any type of present tense prevailing in any of the studied collections? If so, which are the effects? Can the use of (some types of) the present-tense narration be treated as a sign of (feigned) orality? The general aim of the paper is to contribute to our understanding of the relation between orality and textuality in Byzantine literature, the so-called feigned orality and the function of the present-tense narration in Medieval Greek.
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