2010: Singers & Tales in the 21st Century

Singers & Tales 

in the 21st Century:

The Legacies of Milman Parry 

and Albert Lord

December 3 - 5, 2010

Further information about the Symposium can be found on the Milman Parry Collection website, including an email address for registration (free) and information on area hotels.



Unless otherwise noted, all events will take place in the Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall.


Friday, December 3


9:15-9:30    Registration


9:30-9:45    Opening remarks


9:45-11:15    Formula and Theme 

        Egbert Bakker, “Homeric Formulas and the Intertextuality Continuum”

        Carl Lindahl, “The Porous House Sequence in Appalachian Folktales”

        Chao Gejin, “Current Trends in Chinese Folkloristics: A Perspective from 

                the Localized Application of the Oral-Formulaic Theory”


10:30-10:45    Coffee Break

        Coffee and snacks in Ticknor Lounge, Boylston Hall


11:30-12:30    Homer 

        Minna Skafte Jensen, “Menelaus in the Odyssey: A Study in Patterned Narrative”

        Françoise Létoublon, “The Trojan Formulaic Theater”


12:30-2:00    Lunch

        Lunch for conference speakers in Warren House


2:00-4:00    Balkan Epics

        John Miles Foley, “Oral Epic in Stolac: Collective Tradition and Individual Art”

        Mirsad Kunić, “The Death of the Hero Mustaj Bey of the Lika in the Songs of the

                Milman Parry Collection”

        Ronelle Alexander, “Tracking the Epic Register in South Slavic”

        Nicola Scaldaferri / Zymer Neziri, “From the Archive to the Field: New 

                Research on Albanian Epic Songs”


4:30-5:30    Reception and Exhibition 

        Amy Lowell Room, Houghton Library, Second Floor


6:00-7:00    Performance by Odhon Bayar

        Ticknor Lounge, Boylston Hall


7:30    Dinner for Conference Speakers / Performers

        Harvard Faculty Club



Saturday, December 4


9:00-10:30    Comparative Approaches I

        Nikolay Grintser, “Common Grief: Weeping Over Hector and Rama”

        Olga Levaniouk, “The Dreams of Barchin and Penelope”

        Holly Davidson, “The Written Text as a Metaphor for the Integrity of Oral 

                Composition in Iranian Traditions and Beyond”


10:30-10:45    Coffee Break

        Coffee and snacks in Ticknor Lounge, Boylston Hall


10:45-11:45    Comparative Approaches II

        Anna Bonifazi / David Elmer, “Visuality in South Slavic and Homeric Epic”

        Joseph Nagy, “Snakes of the Heart in Serbian and Irish Heroic Tale”


11:45-12:00     Coffee Break

        Coffee and snacks in the Department of the Classics, Boylston Hall 2nd floor


12:00-1:00    Technologies

        Peter McMurray, “There Are No Oral Media? Aural and Visual Perceptions of 

                South Slavic Epic Poetry”

        Casey Dué / Mary Ebbott, “Multitext as an Extension of the Theory and 

                Fieldwork of Parry (and Lord)”


1:00-2:15    Lunch

        Lunch for conference speakers in Warren House


2:15-3:15    Memory 

        David Bouvier, “Formulaic Expressions and Memory in Homer”

        Carlo Severi, “Composition in the Mind: Iconography, Orality, and the 

                Anthropology of Memory”


3:15-3:30    Coffee Break

        Coffee and snacks in the Classics Dept., Boylston Hall


3:30-5:00    Music and Performance

        John Franklin, “South Slavic Heroic Melody: Towards a New Method of 


        Dwight Reynolds, “Composition in Performance Arab Style” 

        Karl Reichl, “The Singing of Tales: The Role of Music in Epic Performance and 

                in the Edited Text”


5:30-6:30    Performance by Âşık Şeref Taşlıova

        Ticknor Lounge, Boylston Hall


8:00    Dinner for Conference Speakers / Performers 

        Ilex Foundation, 82 Revere St., Boston



Sunday, December 5


9:00-10:30    Scandinavian Traditions

        Lars Lönnroth, “Old Norse Texts as Performance”

        Gísli Sigurðsson, “The Oral Background of the Eddas and Sagas”

        Tom DuBois, “Yearning for Multimedia Before Its Time”


10:30-10:45    Coffee Break

        Coffee and snacks in Ticknor Lounge, Boylston Hall


10:45-12:15    Dialogic Approaches

        Anna Stavrakopoulou, “Dialogue of the Deaf: Puppeteers vs. Interviewers on 

                Oral History and Historical Data”

        Aida Vidan, “The Ballad of a Lost Sibling: Oral Sources of Croatian Renaissance 


        Lotte Tarkka, “Dialogue of Genres in Kalevala Meter Oral Poetry”


12:15-2:00    Lunch

        Lunch for conference speakers in Warren House


2:00-3:00    Epic and Society

        Susan Niditch, “Preserving Traditions of ‘Them’ and the Creation of ‘Us’: 

                Formulaic Language, Historiography, Mythology, and Self-Definition”

        Margaret Beissinger, “Transgression, Shame, and the Upholding of Traditional 

                Society: Incest in Balkan Oral Epic”


3:00-3:30    Closing Remarks