The Theory of Oral Composition

The Theory of Oral Composition

History and Methodology (Folkloristics)

John Miles Foley

Presents the first history of the new field of oral-formulaic theory, which arose from the pioneering research of Milman Parry and Albert Lord on the Homeric poems.


” . . . excellent book . . . ” ―The Classical Outlook

” . . . brief and readable . . . There is good tonic in these pages for the serious student of oral tradition . . . a remarkable book.” ―Asian Folklore Studies

“The bibliography is a boon for students and faculty at any level who are curious about the nature, composition, and performance of oral poetry.” ―Choice

” . . . concise, evolutionary account . . . “ ―Religious Studies Review

“As ever, Professor Foley’s conscientious scholarship and sound judgements combine to make a further substantial contribution to the field.” ―E. C. Hawkesworth, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, The Slavonic Review

“Foley is probably the only scholar who is in a position even to suggest the extent of what we should know to work in this area.” ―Speculum

“Foley’s survey stands as a fitting tribute to the achievements of Parry and Lord and as a sure guide to future productive work in the field.” ―Journal of American Folklore

” . . . detailed and informative study . . . We are fortunate that John Foley chose to write this book.” ―Motif

” . . . Theory of Oral Composition . . . detailed account written in an elegant style which could serve equally as a textbook for college and graduate students and as a reference tool for scholars already in the field.” ―Olifant

“As an ‘introductory history,’ The Theory of Oral Composition accomplishes its purpose admirably. It has the capacity to arouse interest on the part of the uninitiated.” ―Anthropologica

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