Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
William J. Slater
This thesis is a primer for future Homeric narrative studies. It is based on a discussion of possible approaches to Homer and suggestions of directions for future study, focusing on the presentation of the primary plotlines of the Iliad and the Odyssey according to Zieliński's Law.
Zielinski's Law holds that Homeric narrative eschews the simultaneous representation of events through three controversial narrative techniques. The research accomplished in this thesis is therefore twofold: a survey of the principal scholarship on Zieliński's Law, which discusses the methodological and terminological confusion engendered by Zieliński's three techniques, and a discussion of recent narratological approaches to the question of simultaneity in Homeric narrative. Zieliński's Law is found to be valid in both Homeric narratives, although its techniques are reformulated into two more functional and structural narrative methods, which are exemplified in the texts. Narratological approaches are found to be insufficiently text-based and are criticized. Narratonomy, a new approach to the Homeric narratives that follows from the discussion of the Law's techniques, is proposed. It involves quantifying what is readily observable in the text and disregarding interpretations that place an undue exegetical burden on the text.
The thesis concludes that it is quite probable that Zieliński Law's and its two structural techniques could be applicable to other textual and even non-textual narratives. In particular, Zieliński's Law is identifiable with one of Olrik's "epic laws", laws that he observed to have validity for a wide range of folktales and sagas from around the world.
Carbon, Jan-Mathieu, "Zieliński's Law and its Validity: Towards a Narratonomy of Homeric Narrative" (2003). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7000.
McMaster University Library