Serbo-Croatian Heroic Songs

Ultimo aggiornamento: 09 gennaio 2023

Lord A. B., Parry M. e al.

Serbo-Croatian Heroic Songs

Volume III: The Wedding of Smailagić Meho, [by] Avdo Međeković

A cura di Bynum D. E., Lord A. B. - Harvard University Press Cambridge (MA) 1974

Scheda a cura di: Bynum D. E., Lord A. B.

The song presented in translation in this volume is one of the two longest ever collected from Slavic oral epic tradition. Yet it is not only their length that makes these songs extraordinary; their excellence as heroic-romantic sung story and the seriousness of their intent as depictions of a glorious past raise them above the usual performances in the tradition to which they belong.

In researching this collection, the author set out to test the theories he had evolved on oral epic, theories that were to introduce a new era of Homeric scholarship. In the Balkans, one of the few areas where a living tradition of oral heroic poetry was still to be found, he observed firsthand how unlettered singers composed their poems, and collected more than 1,200 hours of poetic performance from the most experienced bards. Comprising representative texts and translations from the Parry Collection, this series records the South Slavic tradition.

This limited edition contains the critical texts of eight long oral epics from four bards of northern Bosnia, the northern most predominantly Muslim district in Europe. Sung with the accompaniment of the picked tambura rather than the bowed gusle that is familiar elsewhere in the Yugoslav tradition, the epos in northern Bosnia was often strophic or stanzaic rather than stichic. This volume is the first publication in the more than century-old scholarship on South Slavic oral traditions to take note of that fact, and to document it with specific texts. The editor’s Prolegomena include detailed discussions of the principles of rhythm in this epos, the sources of the tales in it, and extensive comparative commentaries linking the eight narratives with those found in other Yugoslav towns, especially with the tradition of Avdo Međedović at Bijelo Polje.


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