How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics

How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics

Calvert Watkins


In How to Kill a Dragon Calvert Watkins follows the continuum of poetic formulae in Indo-European languages, from previous Hittite to medieval Irish. He makes use of the comparative technique to reconstruct conventional poetic formulae of substantial complexity that extend way back to the unique universal language. hence, Watkins unearths the antiquity and tenacity of the Indo-European poetic tradition.

Watkins starts this research with an advent to the sector of comparative Indo-European poetics; he explores the Saussurian notions of synchrony and diachrony, and locates a few of the Indo-European traditions and ideologies of the spoken be aware. extra, his review offers case stories at the kinds of verbal paintings, with chosen texts drawn from Indic, Iranian, Greek, Latin, Hittite, Armenian, Celtic, and Germanic languages.

In the rest of the booklet, Watkins examines intimately the constitution of the dragon/serpent-slaying myths, which recur in a number of guises during the Indo-European poetic culture. He unearths the "signature" formulation for the myth--the divine hero who slays the serpent or overcomes adversaries--occurs within the related linguistic shape in a variety of assets and over millennia, together with previous and heart Iranian holy books, Greek epic, Celtic and Germanic sagas, all the way down to Armenian oral people epic of the final century. Watkins argues that this formulation is the automobile for the relevant subject matter of a proto-text, and a valuable a part of the symbolic tradition of audio system of the Proto-Indo-European language: the relation of people to their universe, the values and expectancies in their society. accordingly, he extra argues, poetry used to be a social necessity for Indo- ecu society, the place the poet may possibly confer on buyers what they and their tradition valued principally else: "imperishable fame."

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