Context and the Emerging Story: Improvised Performance in Oral and Literate Societies

Abstract

This article derives from recent fieldwork in Bali and offers an alternative methodology that may shed new light on the origins of the Homeric poems. In Bali written texts have co-existed and influenced—and have been influenced by—oral performances for at least a millennium. To discover why and how oral improvised performance persists beyond a few decades or a century, this article draws from current theoretical work in anthropology, archaeology, and performance studies.

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