Attributing Authorship: An Introduction by Harold Love

By Harold Love

Fresh literary scholarship has obvious a shift of curiosity clear of questions of attribution. This publication is the 1st accomplished literary survey of the sphere to seem in 40 years. It revisits a couple of recognized controversies, together with these about the authorship of the Homeric poems, books from the previous and New Testaments, and the performs of Shakespeare. Written with wit and erudition, the examine makes this fascinating box available for college students and students.

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All these possibilities need to be considered in any investigation into the presence and effects of precursory authorship. EXECUTIVE AUTHORSHIP Our second category is that of the maker or artifex, whom we will call the executive author – the deviser, the orderer, the wordsmith, or, in the case of Liszt, the reformulator. As we have seen, this function may be performed singly or collaboratively. The executive author may be defined as the compiler of the verbal text up to the point where it is judged suitable for publication in one or another form (all subsequent alterations being classified as revisions).

In a different way, parodies, which consciously pervert the work of their precursory authors, could not exist without them. A second mode of precursory authorship is found in works that directly incorporate extensive material from a preceding work into a new one. Even in oral transmission it was possible for longer texts to absorb pre-existing shorter texts: the identification of embedded elements has been an important preoccupation of Homeric scholarship. That literacy created vastly enhanced opportunities for such incorporations can be seen from the transmissional history of the Bible.

V. Rieu in the introduction to his widely read prose translation of the Iliad, first published in : It will astonish people who know nothing of the ‘Homeric question’ to learn that these splendidly constructed poems, and especially the Iliad, have in the past been picked to pieces by the men who studied them most carefully and should presumably have admired them most.  For Rieu (a ‘Unitarian’ responding to ‘Analysts’) the strongest argument for a single author is the epic’s ‘consistency in character-drawing’.

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