As previously published on Classical Inquiries, Gregory Nagy and Olga Davidson discuss, “Life of Homer” and “Life of Ferdowsi” in this video recording.
The combined research of Nagy and Davidson on ancient “Life of Homer” and medieval “Life of Ferdowsi” narratives respectively has shown that the traditional “biographies” about these two poets, as transmitted by a vast variety of communities, can be studied as sources of historical information about the reception of Homer and Ferdowsi. Even though the stories about these poets’ lives are myths, the actual uses of the various different myths of various different communities are a matter of historical reality and can be studied objectively by historians and literary historians as a primary way of understanding the impact of poetry on the rhetoric of nation-building.
These video recordings were originally shown at an international conference held at Baku, 27–28 November 2015. The title of the conference was Müqayisəli ədəbiyyat və mədəniyyət: Ədəbiyyatın və mədəniyyətin başlanğıc meyarları, Comparative Literature and Culture: Starting points of national literature and culture. Special thanks go to Rahilya Geybullayeva and Sevinj Bakhyshova for making it possible for Gregory Nagy and Olga Davidson to post the video recordings in Classical Inquiries. Thanks go also to Claudia Filos for her expert videography.
You can read the Abstracts and the full papers on Classical Inquiries